State Senate leader Kevin de Léon stopped in Thousand Oaks on Saturday to drop in on the Spring Fling, the annual fundraiser held by Ventura County’s Democratic Party.
“We are together the duly elected defenders of the American Dream, and we are Donald Trump’s worst nightmare,” said de Léon, who is running against incumbent U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein for her seat.
De Léon pointed to some of California’s state laws and policies as examples of the reforms he wants to make in Washington.
“We have the strongest gun laws the nation — you don’t need a magazine clip of 100, 40, 30 or 20 bullets,” de Léon said. “These are weapons of mass destruction.”
De Léon also noted California’s controversial sanctuary law, which he said “makes sure our local police protect and serve, not act as an extension of the federal government” and its energy policies.
“By 2030, half of our power will be generated by wind; that’s statutory law,” de Léon said, touching on one of the things he says he will work on if he’s elected to the U.S. Senate, climate change legislation.
“It’s time to export California values to Washington, not the other way around,” de Léon concluded.
After finishing his speech, de Léon named his three top priorities if he’s elected to the Senate: climate change, immigration reform and health care reform.
The state Senate leader believes that clean energy would produce 500,000 jobs, “ten times more than the coal mining jobs,” de Léon said.
Health care reform following the Medicare-for-all model is another priority, because “we need to rebuild the broken-down healthcare system.”
De Léon said his third priority would be immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for “dreamers,” children of undocumented immigrants who are themselves in danger of being deported.
“We’ve got to get this issue off the table once and for all,” said de Léon, adding that a bill might include something like California’s law allowing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.
De Léon followed 26th District Congresswoman Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, who talked about Democrats possibly getting control of the House of Representatives after November’s midterm election.
“A blue wave has emerged; in my opinion, it is irreversibly strong, but we need to make sure it is a blue tsunami,” Brownley said, warning that California “is a critical battleground state in 2018.”
Brownley said that Trump administration officials might try to undercount California residents in the 2020 census to reduce the number of seats California has in the House.
But Brownley was confident that voter reaction to Trump administration policies would help Democrats win most of the seats in the House.
“Eighty seats are competitive, and we only need 24” to gain a majority, Brownley noted.
After her speech Brownley said that she has been working on legislation focused on women’s issues, such as in-vitro fertilization, and noted that President Trump recently signed her bill to help Oxnard veteran John Canley get the Medal of Honor.
Without criticizing Trump’s use of force against Syria on Friday, Brownley said that she thinks it’s time to redefine when and how the president can act without talking to Congress.
“We’ve been saying we need a new authorized use of military force agreement because the current one was very much focused on Iraq and terrorists in general,” Brownley said.
State Controller Betty Yee, D, also spoke, telling the audience that she was thrilled to see so much new activism and criticism of the status quo but emphasizing civility.
“Respect must remain the underpinning of all discourse,” Yee said. “Otherwise, how different are we from the other side?”
Ventura County Democratic Party Chair John Griffin began the fundraiser by telling the 210 people who attended that recent county voter registration figures showed 18-to-24-year-olds are largely identifying themselves as Democrats.
The breakdown is 43 percent Democrat and 19 percent Republican with 38 percent declining to state a preference, Griffin said.