Rallying the Troops
By Tyler Davidson
United States Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis visited Moreno Valley on Friday afternoon, rallying support for congressional candidate and current Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet in his efforts to unseat incumbent Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs).
Considering that this year’s turnout for the Democratic primaries was the lowest ever recorded—while Republicans had the highest turnout—this might lend some context to the Donkey party’s efforts to get out the vote.
Approximately 100 supporters showed up to the offices of Democratic group Organizing for America, cheering on Pougnet and voicing their approval as he and Solis explained why Bono Mack should be ousted in November, painting her as a sort of absentee representative to Moreno Valley voters.
“[Moreno Valley] is the largest city, by far, in the 45th congressional district, and how often do you see Mary Bono Mack in this town? Never!” said Pougnet during the first portion of the event, speaking to supporters before Solis took the podium. “If you are an elected representative, Republican or Democrat or Independent, you’ve got to visit the largest city in your district.”
“You don’t turn your back on the district.”
It’s not surprising that Pougnet is going at it full-force. He poses the greatest threat yet to Mack due to the large amount of cash he’s raised for his campaign and media blitz. The Pougnet camp’s strategy involves spending more than $100,000 a week in the days leading up to the Nov. 2 election. As of June, the Palm Springs mayor had amassed about $878,000—threateningly close to the amount of money ($1.2 million) Bono Mack had reported on her last filing.
Bono Mack is going for what would be her seventh term. Pougnet was elected to the Palm Springs City Council in 2003.
Amidst shouts of “Thank you, Steve!” Pougnet last week went on to emphasize that, if elected to Congress, he would be, among other things, a visible representative.
“As a member of Congress in the 45th congressional district, trust me, you will see me in Moreno Valley, you will see me in Hemet, you will see me in San Jacinto, you will see me in Murrieta. Heck, you’ll even see me down there in Menifee.”
In an ensuing news conference, Solis discussed an “unacceptably high” unemployment rate and the potential to create more jobs via tapping more sources of green and renewable energy.
“You have a lot of sun, you have a lot of wind here in this Valley; that resource should be utilized in a manner so that we don’t have to rely on those countries that are not our friends,” Solis said.
Solis also discussed the use of tax breaks for the middle class in order to combat the unemployment rate, one which is reported to be at 15 percent in Riverside County.
“[Mary Bono Mack] would much prefer to give those 2 percent of millionaires and billionaires that tax break . . . Why should we give them money when the money should go to the middle class? Tax breaks for the middle class, for people who make less than $250,000 [per year], that’s the fastest way to create job growth.”
Solis went on to call Pougnet a “maverick” who will “shake up the other people in Congress who don’t want to listen to common sense” and has created thousands of jobs in Palm Springs.
To this end, Pougnet stressed the role of small businesses in putting a dent in the unemployment rate.
“One of my priorities [is] small businesses and getting small businesses hiring again. They are the bedrock of the economy in the country.”