Will Rollins is one of two Democrats seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Ken Calvert in the race to represent the 41st Congressional District. A new resident of Palm Springs, Rollins formerly lived in Canyon Lake, also in the 41st.
As a result of the 2020 California Redistricting Commission’s decisions, the 41st District begins in the desert cities of Palm Springs and Palm Desert, and extends west over the San Jacinto Mountains, including the Hill and Anza Valley, to Menifee, Corona and Norco.
Rollins is a former federal prosecutor whose career focused on counterterrorism and intelligence cases. “I loved being part of the team protecting the country against Russia, China and ISIS,” he declared.
Confronting these issues regularly, Rollins was affronted when protesters assaulted the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. And this motivated his entry into politics.
“I didn’t want to regret not stepping up,” he added. “I didn’t want to look back and I definitely didn’t want to be part of a generation that didn’t step up.”
Similar reasoning is why he became a federal prosecutor. On Sept. 11, 2001, he watched television and saw the attacks on New York City and the destruction of the North Tower of the Trade Center.
“I was inspired to serve in the military, but it was still against the laws for gays to serve in the military,” he said. “So I knew I needed a different path. After law school, I clerked for different federal judges and then joined the Justice Department’s Central California District, which includes Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange and Ventura counties.”
From this experience, Rollins believes the country’s political divisions are attributable to technology and he adamantly advocates “… stop the spreading of the lies.”
He compares the current situation with the immediate years after World War II. In both periods, worries and fear about foreign powers (then fascism and Russia, and now Russia, China and the Middle East) were rampant. Concurrently, there was the growth of a new technology. Then it was the advent of television and now the internet.
The solution to ensure the news was being reported properly was the Fairness Doctrine, which Rollins wants to apply to today’s “news” technology.
“We have to provide different viewpoints without limiting the views,” he stated. “Democracy cannot function unless lies are out in the sun. We need to modernize the Fairness Doctrine and that’s neither Tucker Carlson nor Rachel Maddow. We need to encourage multiple outlooks; the public has a right to be informed.”
To achieve this fairness, Rollins wants more transparency. Not only whether the communicator is a robot or person, but who is marketing on the platform.
“We need to require accountability from big tech companies,” he stressed. “They can’t be sued now. But big tech needs to be treated like any other company; otherwise, it’s a broken information system.”
On his website, Rollins identifies 15 issues important during the campaign. For example, Rollins describes the economy as broken. Costs need to be lowered and raise the cash in consumers’ pockets.
Climate change is another important issue for Rollins and he offers a path for improvement. “We try to expand the incentives for clean technology business startups by lowering their starting cash and zero income tax for their first five years. This should create the potential for many new environmental businesses in Riverside County.”
To lower carbon emissions, Rollins advocates a modern transit system to take cars off the highways.
In support of abortion, Rollins said, “It’s about the right to choose equality. When the government tells women certain laws apply only to them and certain laws only cover their bodies, that’s inconsistent with the constitution and the promise of equality for everyone.”
The 41st District is familiar to Rollins. “I grew up in Southern California and have been to Idyllwild with my parents,” he acknowledged and plans to be in Idyllwild during the campaign.
The threat of wildfire is one he would address if elected. “People with homes in Idyllwild are at risk. I’ll try to ensure federal resources necessary to suppress fires,” he said. Then added, “It will only get worse if we send leaders to Washington that don’t recognize that climate change exists. We need to reduce the temperature on planet Earth.”
To challenge Calvert directly in November, Rollins must defeat three other candidates, including fellow Democrat Shrina Kurani. At the end of March, he had about $620,000 cash still available for the primary. This is about half of Calvert’s campaign chest but significantly more than Kurani’s.