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Gabriella Borter

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Unlike Democrat-run cities, San Diego stands out from the pack with Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer at the helm.

A former San Diego City Council member, he was elected in 2014 after Bob Filner resigned in disgrace eight months into the job. In 2016, Faulconer won a full term to office.

The city’s 36th mayor has prioritized fiscal conservatism throughout his tenure—a focus that’s won him immense praise in deep-blue California.

Now term-limited, Faulconer is leaving his post in January and a new mayor, Democrat Todd Gloria, will succeed him.

The mayor spoke to Town Hall about his accomplishments, his balanced approach to COVID management, and how to challenge Democrat dominance in California.

Tackling Difficult Problems Head-On

Throughout his time in office, Faulconer has aspired to be action-oriented and pragmatic.

Chief among his goals was to address homelessness.

“We’re the only major urban county in California where homelessness has gone down over the last two years [by] double digits,” Faulconer expressed to me. “I’ve made a real significant effort on working to get folks…off the streets. Not just for a night, but for good.”

He also pursued infrastructure projects without raising taxes on residents.

“I’ve really focused on infrastructure since I’ve been there,” he added. “We just hit a milestone: we paved half of the streets in the entire city since I’ve been mayor. That is in marked contrast to past administrations. And… we did this without raising taxes.”

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In contrast to other big-city mayors, Faulconer loudly rejected calls to defund the police.

“I did not defund the police department in San Diego,” noted the two-term mayor. “We actually increased the budget, because you want the best and brightest men and women out there helping to protect you.”

Juggling COVID Management Without Encroaching on Liberties

As other mayors enacted COVID policies absent of science, Faulconer took the opposite approach.

He stressed personal responsibility with respect to mask-wearing, social distancing, and hygiene.

“I think what you’ve seen is so much frustration…different sets of rules coming out of Sacramento seemingly every other week. This whipsaw effect. You’re open, you’re closed, you’re open, you’re closed,” remarked Faulconer.

“We’ve had small businesses in San Diego that have been open and closed five times. That’s unsustainable. And again, people want to do the right thing. They want to keep their employees safe. They want to keep their customers safe.”

Faulconer hasn’t held back his criticism of his governor’s poor handling of COVID—which earned him rare praise from the L.A. Times recently.

Hope for a Republican Resurgence in CA

While other parts of Southern California flipped back to the GOP column this year, it skipped over this once Republican stronghold.

Nevertheless, Mayor Faulconer is optimistic about a Republican resurgence in the Golden State.

“I think that this was very much a bellwether election,” the mayor said. “With some of these congressional seats that flipped, I think it sends a strong message—as you’ve seen the pendulum swing so far to the left. That these policies and candidates are out of touch with Californians, again, who want results [and] who want solutions.”

Like other Californians, Faulconer was pleased to see 52% of voters reject Proposition 15. Had it passed, it would have been the largest tax increase in state history. He also praised the passage of Proposition 22, which, to him, “would have forced them [Uber and Lyft drivers] out of the independent contractor business.”

On His Possible 2022 Bid for Governor

Both L.A. Times and San Diego Union-Tribune suggested Mayor Faulconer would be a serious challenger to incumbent Governor Gavin Newsom, who’s increasingly losing favor in the Bear Republic.

When I asked him about his 2022 prospects, he said he’s seriously considering it.

“I believe we need new leadership in California,” he emphasized. “I’m giving that serious consideration because I think that people want that competition of ideas and they want to have a choice.”

“One-party rule—what’s happening in California—is not serving our state well. It is time for change.”

Should he decide to run for Governor in 2022, Mayor Kevin Faulconer will need to build a broad coalition uniting Democrats, Independents, and conservative Republicans.

Can his work in City Hall translate well statewide? California voters could soon find out.

Author: Gabriella Hoffman

Source: Townhall: Outgoing San Diego Mayor Faulconer: One-Party Rule Isn’t Serving Our State Well

(Reuters) – Mississippi’s Republican governor signed one of America’s strictest abortion bills on Thursday banning women from obtaining an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can often occur before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.

Dubbed the ‘heartbeat bill,’ this is the second legislative attempt in less than a year aimed at restricting abortions in a state with a single abortion clinic.

In a tweet earlier this week, Governor Phil Bryant thanked the state’s legislature for “protecting the unborn” by passing the bill and sending it to him for his signature.

The Mississippi law joins a wave of similar Republican-backed measures recently introduced in Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia.

Conservative Republican proponents say these bills are intended to challenge Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark ruling that women have a constitutional right to an abortion.

U.S. states are jostling for a showdown on abortion rights in 2019, with all eyes on the conservative-dominated Supreme Court.

Just last November, a U.S. federal judge struck down a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks, ruling that it “unequivocally” violates women’s constitutional rights.

The new Mississippi bill prohibits the abortion of a fetus with a detectable heartbeat, before the point where a woman may be aware she are pregnant.

It also states that any physician who violates the restriction is subject to losing the license to practice medicine.

The law makes exceptions for women whose health is at extreme risk. It is a victory for anti-abortion groups, but abortion rights advocates have promised to pursue legal action to overturn it.

“This ban is one of the most restrictive abortion bans signed into law, and we will take Mississippi to court to make sure it never takes effect,” Hillary Schneller, staff attorney at the global abortion rights advocacy group Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.

“This ban — just like the 15 week ban the Governor signed a year ago — is cruel and clearly unconstitutional.”

A fetus that is viable outside the womb, usually at 24 weeks, has widely been considered the threshold in the United States to prohibit an abortion.

Last week, a federal judge blocked Kentucky’s fetal heartbeat abortion law. An Iowa judge overturned that state’s heartbeat law in January after declaring it violated the state’s constitution.

Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Nick Carey and Richard Chang

Author: Gabriella Borter

Source: Reuters: Mississippi governor signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban

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