Bonnie Garcia Photo Courtesy of Bonnie Garcia for senate
Bonnie Garcia
Photo Courtesy of Bonnie Garcia for senate

California State Senate District 28 is currently vacant and Idyllwild voters will see five names on the June 3 primary ballot. Democratic candidates are Philip Drucker of La Quinta and Anna Nevenic of Palm Springs.

On the other side are three Republicans — Bonnie Garcia of Cathedral City, Glenn Miller of Indio and Jeff Stone of Temecula — vying for their party’s nomination.

During the weeks leading up to the election, the Town Crier will introduce each candidate to the community and conclude with a story illuminating their priorities and policy differences.

Garcia is the former Assembly member from District 80 in the Coachella Valley. She served in former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration and has worked for former state Sen. and Assemblyman Jim Battin.

Since leaving the Assembly in 2008, she has “… missed [that] the high-level policy discussions of what we’re doing have effects over the entire state, not just impacts in Palm Desert, but impacts in Eureka, too.”

Since leaving her administrative post, Garcia has been teaching public policy at Chapman University. “This is an opportunity to work with adults who go back to school like I did,” she said.

Consequently, she is anxious to get back into public service. She has plans to focus on economic development and education.

“Jobs drive the economy. People can’t be retrained or grow without the right type of job. And our economy can’t be competitive unless the workforce is educated,” she professed.

Her experiences with individuals seeking a better education worry her about the future. “I’ve seen too many people surviving on two or three part-time jobs,” she lamented. “That takes a toll on them and their families.”

She stressed that her previous experience in the Assembly as a member of the minority party taught her to work with all members.  “You have to check your ego at the door,” she advised, “or victories are only in your eyes. I’m part of a team that wants to move policy.”

She enumerated several bills, which she initiated, but were passed under the name of a member of the opposition party. “Your minority doesn’t mean you can’t work successfully,” she stressed.

While there are three Republicans and two Democrats seeking their parties’ nomination for the state Senate seat, the state’s “top two” law only advances the two candidates receiving the most votes (regardless of party) to the November general election.

“I think the ‘top two’ is good. It creates a threshold where only two candidates can spar over policy reasons,” Garcia said.