California’s 60th district, which is located in Chino Hills, may seem like far away, but not for Van Tamom, who is running for State Assembly. Tamom began attending Cal State Northridge in 2001 and graduated in June 2003.
In his first time running for office, Tamom, who is running as a Democrat in a Republican district, is trying to push education, healthcare and transportation as his main themes to try and get elected.
“We definitely need to make sure that we fully provide for Prop. 98,” Tamom said. “We also need to look at tuition fees. When I graduated from here, I think it cost me $1,200 a semester and I know for a fact it does not cost $1,200 a semester anymore.”
According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, Proposition 98 provides schools with a guaranteed funding source that grows each year with the economy and the number of students. The guaranteed funding is provided through a combination of state General Fund and local property tax revenues.
Tamom said that a way the state could reduce the cost of tuition and increase funding for CSU and UC schools is to close corporate tax loopholes or “to make sure everyone pays their fair share” when it comes to taxes.
“If we say to ourselves that we need this certain level of educational achievement, then we need to say to everyone in society, whether you’re rich or poor, you need to pay your fair share,” Tamom said. “Compared to the days of Pete Wilson, the top one percent of the rich doesn’t really pay much in the way of taxes. We need to ask them for the better of the community to ask them to do more.”
When it comes to transportation, Tamom said he would support the transportation bond in November. He said the bond would give about $20 billion to California’s infrastructure system.
“This is money that will go directly into building things like carpool lanes and things like that,” Tamom said.
Mass transit is another issue that Tamom is taking a stand on by saying the system is incovenient. Giving the topic a personal spin, Tamom said that if he took public transportation from his home in Chino Hills to his office near the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, he would have to drive to the train station, switch trains twice and take a bus.
He acknowledged that bonds are not the perfect way to solve the mass transit issue, but said he believes it is the only way to fix the transportation problem that southern California faces.
Another issue that Tamom has been campaigning on has been affordable healthcare. Out of everyone he met at CSUN, only about 20 percent had medical insurance. He attributes this to the price of and accessibility to health care.
Tamom mentioned a bill that was passed in the state senate called SPA 40. This bill would create a state-controlled single-pair health system. However, Tamom said he believes Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will veto this bill.
“This is part of the reason we have over-crowdedness in emergency rooms,” Tamom said. “It is because (of) this people do not have insurance and have nowhere else to go.”
Tamom said that running as a Democrat in a Republican district is difficult but said he has tried to relate to more conservative voters, adding that being a Democrat does not necessarily mean he is anti-small business or soft on crime.
“You talk to them (Republicans), you tell them who you are and stick to your guns,” Tamom said. “They may not vote for you. Some will and some won’t.”
Tamom is running against Republican Bob Huff, who is seeking his second term.
The election will be held Nov. 7.