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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Sixteenth Senate District candidate Leticia Perez emphasized what she called her pragmatic approach to issues Tuesday during a conversation on "First Look with Scott Cox."
And it was a conversation. She appeared on the simulcast with Californian President and CEO Richard Beene and host Scott Cox. They all agreed there was just a misunderstanding about Cox not being in the studio the last time she came on the show.
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"Let's get this lovefest out of the way here," Beene said.
"We have moved on, Scott," Perez said.
And with that, they were off to talking about the issues facing the district, and the upcoming run-off between Perez, a Democrat and current Kern County supervisor, and Republican Andy Vidak, a cherry farmer from Hanford. Neither candidate -- nor the three others in the race -- won 50 percent plus one vote outright in May, sending the nail-biter election to a run-off July 23.
Beene asked Perez about a variety of bills before the Legislature, and her take on them:
* He said there is legislation proposing to strip tax-exempt status from nonprofits in California, aimed at the Boy Scouts of America. Perez said she's against taking away nonprofits' tax-exempt status.
* He said there is a bill calling for background checks on the purchase of ammunition. Perez said she's against that.
"I don't believe that we as a society can legislate against gun violence," Perez said. She said bad people will always have access to guns, and we shouldn't legislate against people who want guns to protect their families, or use them for hunting.
She said she does not think much is accomplished by putting more regulations on law-abiding citizens. Instead, she said, she is a big supporter of responsible gun ownership. She called for protecting and defending the Second Amendment.
Perez said her No. 1 priority is putting people to work. When people work, she said, their children see that, and they too will work.
Beene and Perez also talked about May's election. Perez at one point conceded to Vidak, but then the rest of the count came in. Perez said she had always anticipated the race for the 16th would go to a run-off.
She said she believes those who voted for the other three candidates will now vote for her. (Vidak has previously said on "First Look" that he's talked to some of those voters, who've said they'll join him.)
Today's election for Ward 1 of the Bakersfield City Council was also a big topic.
Six candidates seek the seat, but Perez focused on only one: Willie Rivera. She said she's walked precincts for him, and called him professional and hard-working.
She said Rivera, like herself, was raised in a constituent oriented delivery and service philosophy. Perez said Rivera, although young, has served the residents of Ward 1 for years.
During a May 20 appearance on "First Look," Perez said she was only going to talk to Californian Editorial Page Editor Robert Price, and didn't want Cox to participate. Price, however, said he never made an arrangement with Perez. Cox still sat out the interview.
During Tuesday's interview, Cox made fun of the situation, even taping his mouth shut at one point during the interview.
The interview was arranged by Beene, who has been critical of Perez in his blog.