The 2011 statewide redistricting has placed Idyllwild in a new Assembly District for the 2012 elections. Brian Nestande (R-Palm Desert), the current Assembly District 64 incumbent, represents the Hill in the state Assembly until December 2012, after which he will no longer represent the Hill.

Idyllwild and the other local communities from Poppet Flat to the San Diego border are part of new Assembly District 71, which extends south to the Mexican border. Brian Jones (R-Santee), Assembly District 77, is the current incumbent.

Jones is finishing his first Assembly term. He served on the Santee City Council from 2002 until his 2010 Assembly victory.

Jones currently serves as the Deputy Floor Manager for the Assembly Republican Caucus and sits on six committees — Assembly Legislative Ethics; Budget; Human Services (vice chair); Judiciary; Water, Parks and Wildlife; and the Select Committee on San Diego Trade, Tourism and Job Creation.

Jones is a native southern Californian. He attended Santee Elementary, Cajon Park Jr. High, and Santana High School. He earned a B.S. Degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University. Brian and his wife Heather have three children.

This year’s open primary assures Jones will likely face either Patrick Hurley, a Democrat, or John McLaughlin, a Republican, in the November election. But neither has raised the campaign money Jones has collected.

As of May 19, Jones had nearly $65,000 cash available. Neither Hurley nor McLaughlin had raised $5,000. Jones had eight contributions of $3,900 and more than 100 gifts greater than or equal to $1,000. Tribes were the source of $25,000, particularly the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians.

“I certainly don’t take this race for granted,” Jones said. “I’ll run the same campaign in the primary as I will in the general election.

“It’s my responsibility every two years to connect with public,” he said. “I have to re-apply for my job.”

When asked if he found it frustrating to be a Republican and constant minority member of the legislature, Jones replied that without the minority, California would have seen $55 billion of new taxes imposed in the past two years.

“I’ll stand against increasing our taxes,” he said emphatically.

What frustration exists, he invests in his responsibility to recruit new Republican candidates throughout the state. “Currently there are 27 Republicans in the Assembly,” he said. “My goal is to get that to 30 or 32 after November. And I’m absolutely optimistic.”

He and Lake Elsinore Assembly member Kevin Jeffries co-authored AB 1506, which would repeal the State Responsibility Area Fire Fee.

“We’ve been working to get it out of the Assembly. We’re doing all we can to engage all 80 Assembly members about this issue,” he said. “But even if we get it out of the Assembly and Senate, I’d be surprised if the Governor [Jerry Brown] didn’t veto it.”

The current projected $16 billion budget deficit has made Brown a terror on taxes, according to Jones.

“Even with the projected deficit, the current year, we’ll see more revenue than last year,” Jones stated.

Jones is planning to visit Idyllwild during June.