SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Corruption and cronyism have ruined California, Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox told a sparse University of San Francisco crowd Thursday evening, and he’s just the man to turn things around.
“We haven’t addressed a lot of the major problems in this state,” Cox said. “The poverty rate has exploded in this state. The middle class is almost nonexistent. People are being crushed every single day by the lack of affordability.”
And it’s government waste that’s making life in California unaffordable for so many, Cox said.
“We don’t have good political management,” Cox said. “We have corrupt special interests that control Sacramento, that drive up the cost of government, that make sure they’re taken care of with high salaries and ridiculous pensions and other costs and that’s why our taxes are so high, and I’m going to make sure that those taxes go down. I hate waste.”
In an Uber on the way to USF from the airport, he said he learned that his driver is currently working two jobs, yet housing expenses forced him to move from his home in South San Francisco to the East Bay.
“That’s what I get all the time, people having to move hours away from their place of work because they can’t afford a house or rent,” Cox said. “And then of course, when they end up moving farther away, they spend several hours in traffic. Then they pay a crushing cost of gasoline which has been made even worse by the Legislature in the last year by the gas tax.”
Cox’s Thursday night appearance is part of a series of five question-and-answer sessions with gubernatorial candidates sponsored by Politico and the University of San Francisco’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good.
A Chicago native who now lives in San Diego, Cox is best known as a businessman, but he’s also an attorney and a former candidate for Congress and the U.S. Senate.
He told moderator Carla Marinucci that he considers himself a supply-side economics, fiscally prudent conservative in the mode of his mentor Jack Kemp and role model John F. Kennedy, and while Marinucci pressed him to sound off on President Donald Trump, Cox said he’d rather stick to policy.
“I’m a Jack Kemp Republican. I’m a believer in a rising tide lifting all boats, which goes back to my love of John F. Kennedy,” Cox said. “And he would be a Republican today— the Democrat party has gone so far afield from John F. Kennedy, it’s not even funny.”
His Democratic contenders, he said, are too busy griping about the president to focus on the real issues.
“Those candidates I’m running against are using the president as a distraction from the problems Californians are facing every single day,” he said. “The people of California are waking up every day and trying to figure out how they’re going to pay for their house, how they’re going to pay for their water bill, how they’re going to pay their electricity bill.”
Cox said that while he didn’t vote for Trump, he now realizes he misjudged the president’s conservatism.
“I was wrong. I made a mistake on the policies he’s followed through on like cutting taxes and reducing regulation,” Cox said.