Cattleman Jack Lavers is the most recent candidate to throw his hat in the ring for the 26th Assembly District. Visalia Mayor Warren Gubler and incumbent Devon Mathis are the other two Republican contenders.
Lavers runs a family business in Glennville with his wife of seven years and their daughter.
As a member of the Kern County Cattleman’s’ Association and currently 2nd Vice-President Emeritus of the California Cattlemen’s Association, Lavers has had to lobby for the industry in Sacramento and Washington D.C. , so he is no stranger to politics.
When asked if he would be willing to debate his two contenders Lavers said, “I would love to, and bring light to all the issues surrounding the election.”
For Lavers, the biggest issues surrounding the election include the Tulare Hospital, gas tax, immigration, over regulation, and conceal and carry.
Lavers is a big opponent of the new gas tax passed in April by the state legislature. The tax went into effect this October and adds 12 cents per gallon to the cost of gasoline.
“I’m never going to be a guy that raises taxes because I’m tired of my business getting hit with taxes.”
He speculated that his cost for gas will go up about $2600 a year and that he can find a way to pay for it. But he was concerned for the family with kids that had to drive to work every day and drop their kids off at school.
“That was an attack on the poor.” He said.
Lavers added that the recent extension of Cap and Trade passed by the state legislature was just another type of gas tax. “Cap and Trade attacks small businesses and the poor,” he said.
Lavers would also like to do something about the state’s over regulation of water and logging. He said that the State Water Board is over regulating the use of water for cattlemen and farmers to the extent that everyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors is going to have to pay a fee to use water.
Lavers said, “It’s not just the Federal Government anymore taking away our water but also the state.”
He feels the same about the restrictions on logging. He said the best motto he has heard is “Log it, graze it, or watch it burn.”
The lack of an immigration policy he believes is also affecting Central Valley Agriculture. Lavers said in a statement,
“As the son of Mexican-American descent on my mother’s side and an immigrant family, I have a great deal of respect for our Constitution and the pursuit of the American Dream. I believe we disrespect immigrants who have come here legally by allowing others to cut in line and show disregard for our Nation’s laws. I’m strongly opposed to Sanctuary Cities and to a Sanctuary State. I further believe we can improve our Immigration system to benefit America and the Ag Industry by adopting a more robust H1-B1 Visa Program.”
Lavers feels strongly about California’s strict gun control laws. “Conceal and carry is very important to me,” he said. Lavers wants the conceal and carry restriction lifted at schools so that the schools can protect themselves.
“A very simple way to kill two birds with one stone would be to hire Veterans as armed security guards at the schools. We should steel a little money from High-Speed Rail and put them (Veterans)back to work at our schools to protect the kids.”
But the biggest problem right now facing Tulare and Inyo Counties he said are their hospitals.
“There is some corruption going there,” he said.
As for the closing of the Tulare Regional Hospital he lays the blame squarely on the Tulare County Supervisors and the Tulare City Council. Lavers said that as a local representative he would have held public meetings and brought the problems to light.
“To me this was a very closed process that side-swiped the public.”
Lavers didn’t know where to begin in terms of Mathis’ problems and declined to comment on the incumbent. But when Lavers’ friends started encouraging him to run for the assembly this summer he did some research on Gubler.
What stood out was the mayor’s “In God We Trust” vote.
During the August 21 Visalia City Council meeting, council members voted 4-1 against painting the motto “In God We Trust” above the city’s seal. Council Member Steve Nelsen was the only one in favor, while Gubler and the other council members voted against it.
In the course of his research before declaring his candidacy Lavers found a quote by Gubler that said, “That’s a nice national motto and it’s on our money, it’s just not for Visalia.”
Lavers believes that all our rights written in the constitution come from God.
“Therefore, neither man nor the government can take them away.”
“If God is not our guiding moral code then our moral code would be up to public opinion,” he said.
He was raised Catholic and his wife, Jewish, but he doesn’t consider himself an overly religious man. Nevertheless, he feels strongly about all municipalities embracing “In God We Trust.”
Another reason among many Lavers felt voters should choose him over Gubler is because he is a sixth generation farmer.
“There are 23 lawyers in the legistature and only five involved in agriculture. We don’t need another attorney in the assembly.
“That makes it too easy for the lobbyists” said Lavers.