House hunters

Seven candidates offer competing bids for a chance to represent District 1

Lewis Elbinger

Lewis Elbinger

With four Democrats, one Republican and one Green Party candidate on the ticket alongside incumbent Rep. Doug LaMalfa, it’s anybody’s guess just how the chips will fall in the June primary. The top two contenders will continue in the race for Congressional District 1, the largest in the state geographically and arguably the most rural.

District 1 spans 11 counties and stretches north to the Oregon border. LaMalfa has held his seat since 2012, when redistricting pushed his predecessor, Mike Thompson, into District 5, where he still serves. That year, he narrowly edged out Democratic challenger Jim Reed, with 53 percent of the vote. During the last election cycle, he once again faced off against Reed. Challengers then, as now, included Gregory Cheadle and David Peterson.

To help voters differentiate among the candidates, here is a quick guide to their positions on these key issues, as gleaned from public forums, official campaign websites, candidate statements and, in some cases, email exchanges:

1. Gun violence

2. Cannabis legalization

3. Health care

4. Immigration

5. Water

6. Jobs/economy

7. Energy

Lewis Elbinger

Green Party, Mount Shasta, retired diplomatic officer

1. In general, pro-peace. Says gun control debate is distracting from other issues.

2. Supports decriminalizing cannabis federally.

3. Pro-universal health care. “Most advanced, civilized societies provide affordable or free health care to their citizens in order to assure, protect and ensure a high quality standard of living,” he says on his site.

4. Favors deportation of undocumented immigrants who commit crimes.

5. Pro-water protection. Strongly against building a dam in Grass Valley, as it would threaten the local water ecosystem. Stands firmly with Standing Rock.

6. “The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time,” he says on his website. Some of his proposed remedies: tax reform to eliminate loopholes for corporations and create an estate tax on wealthiest individuals; increased federal minimum wage; Medicare for all; same wages for men and women.

7. Renewables.

David Peterson

David Peterson

Democrat, Grass Valley, small-business owner

No website, see candidates’statements on Butte County elections site

1. While vague on specifics, supports stricter laws regarding access to guns.

2. “Step one is to curtail funding for DEA enforcement operations in states that have legalized,” he said by email. “Step two is measure the economic and social impact to legal states and adjoining states.”

3. Supports single-payer Medicare for all.

4. In order to solve the problem of undocumented workers, require wages of $20 per hour, with a 20 percent tax to be sent to their home country for infrastructure maintenance.

5. Infrastructure of dams and water districts is a major concern. “New development will be focused on storage in the south Central Valley including aquifer restoration,” he said by email.

6. Plans to bring many jobs to District 1 by backing infrastructure repairs as well as new wind- and solar-energy projects, which will have the secondary result of lowering individual power bills.

7. “I will cut numerous red-tape restrictions slowing the Green Energy Transition, including fossil fuel subsidies,” he says in his candidate statement.

Audrey Denney

Audrey Denney

Democrat, Chico, farmer/educator

1. Supports expanding California’s stringent gun control laws to the rest of the United States.

2. Supports removing cannabis from the federal Schedule I drug list and treating it the same as any other agricultural commodity.

3. Says health care is a human right. Pro-universal health care and decreased prescription drug costs. Plus, she emphasizes public education on health issues.

4. Says current laws leave many in fear of deportation of themselves or loved ones. Advocates a path to citizenship because immigrants are part of our community and our economy.

5. Suggests improving existing infrastructure and investing in conservation efforts, in addition to providing incentives to farmers for upgrading irrigation systems for better water savings.

6. Supports increasing the federal minimum wage to ensure that people who work full-time are not below the poverty line. Added jobs through investments in clean energy and other sustainability efforts.

7. Says climate change is the single biggest threat to human life. Part of the reason for this is an over-reliance on fossil fuels. Pro-renewables.

Jessica Holcombe

Jessica Holcombe

Democrat, Auburn, attorney

1. Supports legislation that limits availability of high-power rifles with magazines holding more than 10 bullets. Proposes a ban on bump stocks. Says she will not accept donations from the NRA.

2. Pro-federal legalization. Says she would co-sponsor the Marijuana Justice Act to take cannabis off the Schedule I drugs list and offer reduced sentencing and expungement services, as well as job training for those with cannabis-related convictions.

3. Health care is a right, not a privilege. “We are … the only developed country which does not provide universal healthcare to its citizens primarily because of the lobbying power of insurance and pharmaceutical companies,” she says on her website.

4. Husband is an immigrant from Holland. Supports a path to citizenship for rural farmworkers.

5. Proposes added incentives for innovation and implementation of technology that increases water conservation as well as prevents groundwater contamination, versus investing in additional reservoirs.

6. For increasing the federal minimum wage to $15.

7. Says renewable energy will reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil, while allowing households to save money and cutting back on carbon emissions, which contribute to global warming.

Marty Walters

Marty Walters

Democrat, Quincy, environmental scientist

1. Says the first step to curbing gun violence is to fix our current regulations on firearms.

2. Pro-federal legalization.

3. Supports separating health care from employment. Proposes consolidating Medicare and Medicaid (MediCal in California). Eliminate red-tape regulations to keep costs down.

4. Supports policy to bring people into full residency. Says problem with undocumented workers is California’s labor market, which relies on them.

5. “We must prioritize ecosystem restoration in our mountain regions to allow for more water capture and storage and we must address the excess of biomass in our forests that further limits water storage,” she said by email.

6. According to her candidate statement, “We can develop new local industries, making products that help us respond to climate change. We can bring back rural communities as centers for arts and culture, services, and remote work, all supported by reliable high-speed internet.”

7. Supports multiple approaches to sustainable energy sources: Renewable and distributed energy systems, passive heating and cooling to deal with weather extremes and noncarbon fuels.

Gregory Cheadle

Gregory Cheadle

Republican, Redding, real estate broker

1. Pro-Second Amendment. Says “mass shootings” are a white problem that ignores gun violence among minority communities.

2. Favors decriminalizing marijuana, saying it fuels the “criminal justice industrial complex” and leads to personal hardships and increases crime.

3. Anti-Affordable Care Act. Pro-life. Anti-vaxxer. Believes drug and alcohol dependence is overtaxing the health care system. “The diseases that are plaguing us as a nation are diseases of luxury and are largely self-induced,” he says on his website. Obesity epidemic is due to overindulgence and gluttony.

4. Says America’s jails and prisons are “filled with illegal aliens, many of whom are gang members ….”

5. No stance found. Did not reply to an email request by press time.

6. Says taxes, unions and regulation are killing the U.S. jobs market.

7. Believes the U.S. consumes too much energy, especially of the imported variety. Supports increased local energy production, namely coal and natural gas, but adds: “Also we must invest in technologies that improve nuclear, wind, and solar power, as well as make cost-effective biofuels.”

Doug LaMalfa

Doug LaMalfa

Republican (incumbent), Richvale, farmer

1. On his website, he says, “I will fight any attempt to water down or weaken our rights, while pushing to ensure our rights to hunt and defend ourselves are expanded.”

2. Against legalization, maintains it should be illegal in California despite voters’ decision.

3. Anti-Affordable Care Act, saying increased consumer choice drives costs down. Notably pro-life, he has supported the removal of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

4. Pro-Trump’s wall. Says he supports legal immigration and is against driver’s licenses and in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. “California’s Sanctuary State policies are unconstitutional and a danger to the public,” LaMalfa said in a statement last week (May 17). “We cannot sit back and watch as illegal aliens—often criminals—endanger our communities ….”

5. Defends of North State water rights. Advocates for Sites Reservoir. Opposes environmental regulations related to water, such as the Endangered Species Act.

6. Wants to reduce regulations to encourage businesses to move into the area, which in turn creates jobs.

7. Pro-domestic energy production, including nuclear, and loosening of environmental regulations that impede such production.