Thursday night more than 125 people attended a fundraiser at Callaway Winery for 66th District Assembly hopeful Bob Magee. The seat is now held by Kevin Jeffries, who has reached his term limit and has announced he is running for Riverside County Supervisor.
After an hour of handshakes and appetizers Magee, who currently serves as Lake Elsinore Mayor Pro Tem, was introduced by Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone.
Although Magee maintains he won't make his assembly bid official until redistricting is finalized, Thursday's gala was a step closer to sealing the deal.
“If anyone is ready to go to Sacramento to fight the good fight, it’s Bob Magee,” Stone said.
Stone said Magee has more than 80 endorsements from Riverside County elected officials and he possesses private-sector business experience.
“He knows business and realizes we have an over-regulated bureaucracy to deal with in Sacramento,” Stone said.
Murrieta Mayor Randon Lane, who heads up Magee’s campaign exploratory committee, said that the Temecula winery was chosen as a place for the inaugural event because it’s thought that the upcoming redistricting will include the area.
“Bob Magee gets it,” Lane said. “He’s not a politician--he’s a public servant and he will fight for the district.”
Another Murrieta supporter, Murrieta Mayor Pro Tem Doug McAllister, agreed with Lane.
“I will always support anyone who understands things at the local level,” McAllister said. “There’s a definite disconnect between local and state and I think Bob will help reconnect us.”
If elected, Magee said he wants to see a balanced budget, cut bureaucratic red tape and create a reserve account. He noted that the city of Lake Elsinore now has more than $3 million in reserves that has helped them through the tough economic times. He would like to see reinvestment in utilities and transportation which, he said, will bring jobs as well.
A main issue in Sacramento will be what Magee calls a redundant and over-regulatory environment for California businesses. He believes that less regulation would enable business to create more jobs.
Magee's also a strong proponent for pension reform in the public sector. Something he said the city of Lake Elsinore is currently working on and will have an announcement soon.
Education reform is also something he would like to tackle.
“We need to retain and reward good teachers,” he said, “And retrain or remove bad teachers.”
He would like to see tenure for teachers removed, and he wants to work with the teachers' unions to see them be a part of the solution for California education funding.
“We have a big problem with unions in this state,” he said, “They need to be part of the solution.”
Magee’s parents, Ed and Lynn Magee of San Diego, were present to see their son's first kick-off fundraiser.
“He’s always been a hard worker,” said Ed, “and we’re very proud of him.”
Born in Sacramento, Magee’s first job was on a golf course placing the flags out and putting carts away. He is the oldest of four children and, according to his parents, the leader.
To date, running against Magee will be 49th District Congressman Darrell Issa’s district director Phil Paule of French Valley, and Ken Dickson of Murrieta, a member of the Murrieta Valley Unified School Board since 1997, who ran unsuccessfully for state senate in 2010.