Dear Republican Presidential Candidate:

We look forward to seeing you at the Presidential Debate at the Reagan Library on the16th.  As a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer, I thought you might be interested in what I have learned spending the year traveling this incredibly diverse state of over 38 million people.

In many ways, Californians feel the same as Americans elsewhere. They are disgusted with the permanent political class that puts their ambition ahead of the people.

However, in other respects, California is unique.  First, given the historic strength of the field, the election calendar, and the number of primaries that are not winner take all, there is a strong possibility the June 2016 California primary will be crucial to your success.

Second, California’s economy is immensely important to the nation’s.  California is over 12% of the US economy; if we were a country, we would have the 8th largest economy in the world.

Yet, California has suffered an economic earthquake that has cracked the Golden State in two. In Silicon Valley we are witnessing one of the greatest accumulations of wealth in the history of civilization.  At the same time, large swaths of this state have been left behind by years of bad government decisions.  There are 8.9 million Californians living in poverty – about as many people as live in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina combined.

The historic paths to the middle class are being choked off.  In fact, the fastest growing path to the middle class today is a government job.  So it is not “what you know,” it is“who you know.”  And an economy based on “who you know” has a disproportionate negative impact on citizens of disadvantaged backgrounds or modest means.  On top of stagnant wages, the cost of housing here is 250% higher than the national average, energy 50% higher and gas can cost more than $1.00 more per gallon.

Millions of Californians are being crushed.

The answer to America’s problems and your success as a candidate lies in addressing the problems these voters and voters like them across the nation face every day.

You may want to visit places like East Porterville where the people have to take community showers because aggressive environmental policy places fish over people.  You may want to talk with business leaders in East San Jose where the contraction of the community banking system has devastated the small business community.  Travel to the communities in Los Angeles, where courageous Latino children are challenging the teachers’ unions in hopes of improving their educational outcomes.

The left talks endlessly about these issues.   But their policies pour cement on the problem.  The voters not only understand this, they are experiencing it.  For example, liberals talk about the importance of education, but they are fighting children in court, while protecting the public unions!

As you are finding elsewhere, the biggest frustration is people do not feel heard.  When they know you have heard them and you give voice to their concerns, they will stay with you all the way.

I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing you next week.



Duf Sundheim

Candidate for the United States Senate, California