Randy Voepel, longtime Santee mayor and insurance underwriter and broker, is analytical by nature. “I call myself a manly nerd,” he said. “I like analysis and problem solving. As mayor of Santee, I’ve worked hard to implement a conservative, limited-government vision for Santee.”
Voepel has been mayor of Santee, a San Diego suburb of just over 54,000, since 2000. Under his administration, he notes crime has dropped, city payrolls and spending have lessened, budgets have been balanced and a rainy-day fund has been put in place. Voepel says his administration has done this without raising taxes. “As a result of these policies, Santee now boasts the best business environment and smallest pension liabilities in the region,” he said.
Asked why, with a successful local brokerage practice and a strong record as mayor, he wants to leave for the stress of Sacramento as the Assembly District 71 representative, Voepel said, “I’m an adventurer and I like to conquer mountains. I’m a worker bee who likes to solve problems. I only sleep four to five hours a night.” He’s also retiring from his 39-year brokerage practice.
Voepel noted there’s an opening now to solve across-the-aisle problems in Sacramento. “There’s a new atmosphere there. With moderate Democrats in the Central Valley fighting with progressive Democrats, there’s an opening and a window to get things done,” he said. “I make alliances and friends, and put together people who can get results. At heart, I’m a small-town mayor.”
On the issues, Voepel is a strong supporter of Second Amendment gun rights. “I believe all law-abiding citizens should be entitled to own firearms as individuals, either for recreation, protection or both. As your Assembly member, you can rest assured I will oppose any and all efforts to restrict your Second Amendment rights.”
He has made a public pledge to “never raise taxes.” He opposes abortion. “My faith tells me that all life begins at conception and I believe we have a moral duty to protect all forms of life.”
To grow the economy in California, Voepel believes in having government get out of the way. “At the state level, we need to reduce regulations, bureaucratic red tape, taxes and other impediments to a healthy and prosperous economy.”
Before going into business in the San Diego area, Voepel completed two Navy tours of duty in Vietnam. “My core values are conservative Republican. I’m known as a man of my word. I have 20 years of being recognized on the ballot. You’ve got to send a strong person up there. With me, you have a man of experience and character. I will go up there to represent you and work hard. I’ll be prepared because that’s in my nature.”
Voepel has the majority of endorsements from prominent Republicans, including that of state Sen. Jeff Stone. Other than Stone, all other endorsements are San Diego-based, including current AD 71 Assemblyman Brian Jones whose term in office has ended.
Neither Voepel nor his challenger, Tony Teora have ever been to Idyllwild and know little of the town’s demographical makeup or issues. Idyllwild sits at the northern terminus of AD 71. The majority of district residents live in San Diego County, with only Riverside County communities Aguanga, Anza, Idyllwild/Pine Cove, Pinyon Pines and Valle Vista (east Hemet) in the district. District registration is 44-percent Republican, 28-percent Democratic and 22-percent no party preference. The district population is overwhelmingly white (64 percent) with Latino next at 24 percent.