As a television actor, Kimberlin Brown Pelzer is a public figure; but challenging Rep. Dr.

Kimberlin Brown Pelzer is a Republican candidate challenging Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz. Photo by Philippe Ramic

Raul Ruiz for the local congressional seat is her first political campaign experience.

Pelzer is running for the Republican nomination against five other Republican candidates. Unless one of the six, including Ruiz, garners more than 50 percent of the June 5 primary vote, the two candidates with the most votes will vie in the summer and fall for votes in the November gubernatorial election.

Pelzer is dominating the Republican fundraising. The National Republican Congressional Committee has recognized her as “on the Radar,” which is the first rung on its “Young Guns” ranking.

Pelzer’s financial position relative to her fellow Republican challengers is somewhat similar to Ruiz’s funding compared to the five challengers. She has more cash available than the total for the other four candidates. And Ruiz has about 10 times what Pelzer has available. These figures were as of the end of March.

As a first-time political candidate, Pelzer has found campaigning to be exhausting. “There’s not enough hours in the day to accomplish what needs to be done,” she said.

Yet, she thoroughly enjoys it, especially the opportunities to talk with the public. “It’s invigorating when they understand that someone is on their side.”

While she has not experienced anything unexpected during the daily routine of campaigning, fundraising and candidate meetings, “the outpouring of support, not political, I never dreamed the amazing support from family to people I just met.”

Besides acting, Pelzer and her husband have owned several small businesses and this is the motivation for her entry into politics. She has not found anyone who wants to represent small businesses, which have been negatively affected by Washington legislation and rulemaking.

“People realize that I understand what they are going through,” she said. “They don’t have anyone speaking for them and they will come up and tell me, ‘You get it and we need people like you.’”

She recognizes the funding advantage Ruiz has now, but she expects to gain momentum during the summer. “If people step up to the plate, I should be in fairly good shape.”

And if elected, Pelzer is disappointed in the recent budget that passed in D.C.

“… that budget isn’t anything any Republican is truly happy with, but they had to fund the military, and I understand why the president signed it,” she said.

She stressed that her own business experience helps her understand budgeting better than the typical elected representative. “Baseline budgets don’t work. Not a single company relies on baseline budgets,” she asserted.

Instead, she recommends that Congress review and approve three-year budgets for each department, not one grandiose budget bill for the entire government.

Her concern is that legislators are unwilling or unable to admit when an idea or program didn’t work. But, “in business, if it doesn’t work, we have to change it or go out of business.” Government fails to change the programs that aren’t working, she argues.

Regarding immigration, which affects the district, Pelzer is a firm believer in maintaining the border. Yet she recognizes that local agriculture needs the help harvesting crops. She favors greater use of technology for visa programs to monitor non-citizens who are admitted temporarily.

“They have to earn the right to be American,” she advocated. “Our country is built on immigration and better for it.”

Pelzer is firmly opposed to “Obamacare” because of her experience as a small businesses owner. “It hurt our employees; they were worse off,” she said.

She wants a replacement and has been talking with people at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, as well as locally at Loma Linda Hospital.

“People who worked in big healthcare organizations understand what the public wants,” she said. “Obamacare can not sustain itself.”

Pelzer and her husband have a home in the desert. She is a native Californian, born in Northern California, and raised there and in Southern California.

“I got to play cowgirl on my grandparents’ ranch in Northern California and go to the beach in San Diego County,” she said. The desert has been an important part of her life for nearly 25 years, she added.