Portantino Challenged by Political Novice in 44th Assembly District

Vanessa Duffy

The candidates for State Assembly for the 44th district are Anthony Portantino, Democratic incumbent since 2006 and Republican Alvaro Day, a 21-year-old UCLA graduate.

Before becoming assemblyman for the 44th district, Portantino was the mayor of La Canada-Flintridge and served on the city council.

Portantino is recognized for his strong voice and activeness in public education. He is an active PTA member and school volunteer. He believes in fair treatment for districts serving low-income and minority students and opposes raising community college fees.

In March, Portantino proposed AB 1764, which is a salary freeze through 2013 for state employees earning more than $150,000 a year.

“This is a fiscally responsible way to preserve money for social programs and education,” said Portantino. He said it is irresponsible to give pay raises to people who are at the highest end of the spectrum when the state is giving furloughs to those at the lower end.

As a result of his active involvement in the states’ financial crisis, Portantino was named to head the Assembly Taxation this year.

“We can’t let California become a state of only the rich and the poor. We need a true safety net that makes decent housing and quality healthcare affordable for every family,” said Portantino.?

Portantino volunteers with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for low-income families. It is a non-profit organization, which is lead by labor volunteers with the help of donated money and materials. According to the organizations website, they have built or rehabilitated more than 350,000 houses.

On unemployment, Portantino wants to raise the minimum wage to help middle-class workers. He believes that every family should have affordable healthcare.
Portanino’s Republican adversary, Day, graduated from UCLA at age 20 with degrees in political science and history. He was the founder and president of UCLA’s Christians United for Israel.

Day was born in Peru and came to the United States at age 11.

“We had a president that was a socialist and Peru very quickly became bankrupt,” said Day. He sees hardship in California and doesn’t want to live through the negative effect that consumed Peru.

Day believes the main problem in California is wasteful spending. He thinks that too much money is being spent on jails and its healthcare.

He compares California’s economic status with that of Texas.

“Records show that Texas had the biggest production of jobs two years ago and they have significantly lower taxes,” said Day. He wants California to mimic these strategies.

Day wants to lower taxes to promote more jobs. Lowering taxes would encourage people to spend more money in the community.
Public education has taken a hard hit throughout the recession. Day wants school administrators to have better monetary management.

Day wants to propose school choice where parents can pick the schools they want their children to attend.

Both candidates have come from different backgrounds. Depending on who wins, their views can change California’s education and environmental systems.