HAYWARD -- Assembly District 20 incumbent Bill Quirk has more than $200,000 to spend on his re-election campaign, while his two challengers have not raised enough to file mandatory reports with the state.
Jaime Patiño and Luis Reynoso may not have the campaign money of Quirk, but they're not short on ideas on how to improve California. The top two finishers in the June 3 primary will face off in November's general election.
Patiño, who commutes on BART from Union City to his job in Berkeley, said it was the transit system's strike that led him to enter the race.
"Our Bay Area delegation members were quiet because they were beholden to the union instead of the little guy. I said, 'This isn't right; somebody needs to stand up for the people who need to go to work,'" he said.
The Republican said the union made unreasonable demands, but management also made mistakes.
"When it's taxpayers money, both sides should work and negotiate in good faith," Patiño said.
Reynoso has served on the Hayward school board since 2008. He said there is only so much a local district can do -- that some changes need to be made on the state level to improve education.
"When you look at how much we spend on education, 40 percent of the state's budget, and we don't have results, that's something we should look into," he said. "Where is the 40 percent going?"
The state's budget is the top priority for Quirk, first elected to the Assembly in 2010. Now that the state is in better financial shape, he would like to restore some funding that the state eliminated.
"We had a 10 percent cut in Medi-Cal reimbursements; I would love to see that reinstated. We're putting a lot more people on Medi-Cal, and it's hard for doctors to take these patients because of the low reimbursements," he said.
Quirk also wants to ensure that aging people are able to stay in their homes rather than go to nursing facilities. But the Hayward resident said legislators need to be selective about restoring funding.
"We have a real plethora of things we're not going to be able to afford. We can only do so much; there's only so much money," he said.
Patiño said the state's high taxes are driving businesses and jobs out of California.
"We cannot continue to lose jobs to Texas," he said, citing Toyota's moving its headquarters from Southern California to outside Dallas as the latest example.
"We're ranked second on taxation in the nation, but we have a bloated, inefficient government. We're not doing anything to help businesses; we're making it worse for them," he said.
Reynoso and Patiño both say the state needs to reduce its unfunded liabilities and eliminate pension spiking.
As a scientist in the 1970s, Quirk worked on some of the first climate change studies, and he has introduced legislation that would extend the state's greenhouse gas emission reduction goals to 2050. California has the most advanced program for cutting greenhouse emissions, but more is needed, he said.
"The big problem is in the developing world. One of the most important things we can do is develop the technology that will be adopted by India, China and other nations. This will be critical to solving greenhouse gases," he said.
Quirk is the go-to guy for scientific questions in the Legislature. With his help, state Sen. Fran Pavley added specific regulations on the amounts of acid in her fracking bill.
"None of the moratorium bills went anywhere. But we now have the toughest fracking regulations. I don't know if fracking can be done under those regulations, but it is certainly heavily regulated," Quirk said.
Both Patiño and Reynoso favor more choice in schools, including charter schools.
"I really do believe the parent should be given the right and exercise the right to place their child wherever their child can get the best education," Reynoso said.
Reynoso, running without any party afficliation, ran unsuccessfully against Quirk in the 2012 primary, that time as a Republican. The Assembly district covers Hayward, Union City, Ashland, Cherryland, San Lorenzo, Castro Valley, Fairview, Sunol and part of Fremont.
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473. Follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.
Occupation: Incumbent, retired scientist
Political experience: California Assembly, 2012-present; Hayward City Council, 2004-12
Family: Married, two children
Party affiliation: Democrat
Quote: "We no longer have a deficit, but we have a service deficit for our schools, Medi-Cal, and health and welfare supportive services."
Occupation: Financial analyst, UC Berkeley
Political experience: Union City Human Relations Commission, 2012-present
Family: Single, one child
Party affiliation: Republican
Quote: "We haven't done one damn thing to help businesses in California."
Occupation: Adjunct professor
Political experience: Hayward Unified School District trustee, 2008-present
Family: Married, two children
Party affiliation: No party preference
Quote: "I'm into practical solutions."