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Political unknown contemplates AD15 race

Assembly District 15 is a revolving door for Democratic candidates.

While Steve Filson of Danville drops out this week, political unknown Ted Ford of Walnut Creek says he wants into the field. In an email, Ford says he is an economist who has worked in private banking and as an international development consultant for companies throughout the world.

Ford admits in his email that he lacks a “six-figure warchest” and a political consultant but he was inspired by a recent Contra Costa Times editorial that encouraged citizens to run for office.

Here’s what he wrote, in part, on Feb. 18 in an e-mail copied to me:

It has only been in recent weeks that I have decided to take out out papers and run for the Assembly District 15 seat. I do not yet have a website, but have examined those of the other candidates. Steve Filson’s is the most informative. I have noted that Mr. Filson has raised some $50,000 and Joan Buchanan is approaching $200,000. I understand that three of the Republicans are already over the $200k mark. The California Progress Report says that this will be a $1 million race. Much is at stake, most significantly veto-proof control of the legislature. There will be new leadership as Fabio Nunez and Don Perata are termed out. Important legislation such as Sheila Kuehl’s one payer universal health insurance coverage (SB840) will again come to the floor. We are quite possibly at the cusp of very dramatic change for the State of California and much of it depends on what happens in this key race for Assembly District 15. With so much at stake, it is perhaps surprising that there are only nine candidates. I was delighted to read the Contra Costa Times’ editorial last week calling for for any interested citizen to take out papers and get into the ring, participatory democracy at its best. I do not have a six figure war chest nor a political consultant at my side, but I do have opinions and ideas which I would like to express and I hope to make a positive contribution to the political dialog.

For most of my 35 year professional career I have worked as an economist, mostly outside of the United States. After two years in the Peace Corps (West Africa) in the early 1970’s, I worked for the US Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer and economic specialist. In 1980, I left Washington and took a job with the international division of a major New England based bank. After ten years in private sector banking, I turned my career to consulting in international development and economics for a variety of clients including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, Arthur D. Little, Abt Associates, and governmental agencies in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Laos, Mongolia, and Pakistan. I was based overseas during much of that period. In 1996, married with young children, I returned and settled in Walnut Creek. My wife and I have a home in Saranap. My fifteen year old daughter is at Las Lomas and my 12-year old son at Walnut Creek Intermediate. In recent years I have worked in management and sales in the Bay Area. I am currently at work on a development assistance assignment concerning Laos and travel there periodically.

Principal issues are health care, taxation, the pending fiscal crisis posed by unfunded pension liabilities, the future of the Delta and water management, immigration, and nuclear energy policy. I am concerned by the power of special interests in the State including public sector unions. I would like to address taxation inequities, particularly the issue of absurdly light taxation of corporate owned real estate caused by proposition 13. This is particularly germane to Contra Costa County in its tax dispute with the oil refineries.

I am in agreement with the Sierra Club in its call to favorably consider the construction of new nuclear power plants as a way to lessen our dependence on carbon based energy. New breeder reactor technologies may offer a solution to the problem of waste disposal. I am opposed to the diverting of additional water from the Delta to corporate owned farms in the Central Valley who have been selling water rights to municipalities in Southern California. I believe that water may become the single most important political and economic issue facing this region of the United States in the next ten to twenty years.

I am inclined to support a single payer health care system but believe that significant deductibles and co-pays are needed to rationalize the system and keep costs in line. I favor initiation of a national ID as a critical technology to control the problems of illegal immigration while allowing for the free flow of non-immigrants to meet the requirements of agriculture and other industries in California.

As you see, I have some strong views, some of which are quite controversial. The reason I am running is to put these ideas out there for lively and constructive debate and discussion for the benefit of the electorate. These are challenging issues for both Republicans and Democrats. This race for Assembly 15 is, in my view, the key pivotal race for the State of California as it may determine whether the Democratic legislature has a veto proof majority. In a five person race, anything can happen. I might even win.

Ted Ford

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Brendan Hurd

    Bravo! It is about time someone, whether a Democrat or a Republican, brings sensible and realistic solutions to light for this state’s pressing issues. Ted Ford has the right experience and the perspective to bring rationality and intelligence into the Assembly of California. In addition, he is obviously not a career politician and will work for the benefit of those he represents than rather future supporters of some other race for another office.

  • Brendan Hurd

    Bravo! It is about time someone, whether a Democrat or a Republican, brings sensible and realistic solutions to light for this state’s pressing issues. Ted Ford has the right experience and the perspective to bring rationality and intelligence into the Assembly of California. In addition, he is obviously not a career politician and will work for the benefit of those he represents than rather future supporters of some other race for another office.