GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner’s appearance at the Irvine Hyatt Regency today

Earlier today I joined with 175 other Republicans, Libertarians and elected officials at a luncheon held at the Irvine Hyatt Regency. We gathered to listen to CA Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner who shared with us why he is running for governor.  Introducing Steve was former Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte. Jim made a strong case for Steve starting with the electorate seek candidates for governor who have statewide elected experience. Having actively supported another candidate for governor a few years back there are some key campaign data points. Are you electable? Name recognition, successful business experience and the ability to finance a statewide campaign. I agree with Senator Brulte that Steve Poizner scores very high on all three of these data points.

During the luncheon we also heard from 71st AD representative Jeff Miller, 68th AD representative Van Tran, and 73rd AD member Diane Harkey.

Juice readers. What do we know about Steve Poizner anyway? Good question.
For those not familiar with our State Insurance Commissioner let me share some data from Wikipedia which Steve restated in his presentation.

Stephen Leo “Steve” Poizner (born January 4, 1957) is a California businessman and Republican politician, who was elected State Insurance Commissioner of California in 2006. Prior to his political career, Poizner worked in Silicon Valley as a high tech entrepreneur, founding both SnapTrak, Inc. and Strategic Mapping, Inc.

” Poizner has been described as “independent” (Modesto Bee), “a man of integrity” (LA Times), someone with “an impressive command of the issues” (SD Union Tribune) and having a “reformist bent” (Sacramento Bee). A highly-successful businessman/entrepreneur, Poizner founded several technology companies. His last company, SnapTrack, pioneered life-saving technology that put GPS receivers into cell phones.

Gilbert note: He sold that firm to Qualcomm in 2001 for a billion dollars.

This technology is now the industry standard and can be found in more than 700 million cell phones around the world. Poizner also founded and served as chief executive officer of Strategic Mapping Inc., a company that assisted police departments, utilities, transportation companies, banks and retailers with selecting new locations and plotting distribution logistics.

Poizner has long been active in public service and civic affairs. From 2001-02, he served in the White House as the Director of Critical Infrastructure Protection in the National Security Council. Starting one week before the September 11, 2001 attacks, Poizner was responsible for issues such as emergency communications planning for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and protecting internet/banking system/power grids from cyber attacks. In 2006 he was elected as a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations (nominated by former Secretary of State George Shultz).

Poizner is also a strong advocate for education reform. He was a co-founder of the California Charter Schools Association, the state’s leading charter school organization. Since his involvement began, the number of charter schools in California has doubled. He also co-founded EdVoice, a statewide organization that advocates education reform and promotes issues such as charter schools, accountability and local control. Poizner has also served on the boards of several organizations committed to assisting disadvantaged children in K-12 public schools. In addition to his reform efforts, Poizner also spent a year “in the trenches” as a volunteer teacher at Mount Pleasant High School in East San Jose where he taught 12th grade government. As Insurance Commissioner, Poizner oversees the California Department of Insurance (CDI), the largest consumer protection agency in the state. CDI has more than 1,200 positions, a $200 million budget and regulates almost one-tenth of the California economy.”

After his presentation the Commissioner took several questions from the audience beginning with the solution to our fiscal mess. “no more taxes..Not one more dime.” He added that we need to get rid of programs that are ineffective. We need to roll back the budget to 2006 levels adding that it will be tough. He also suggested implementation of budget reform. We need a Constitutional spending cap. He also promoted Sunset provisions for every single program. He suggested that we go to multi-year budgeting which might “ensure that legislators don’t go overboard.”

The Commissioner added that “we need a growing economy” adding that we must “bring jobs back.”
Another attendee asked about our borders as it relates to illegal immigration. Steve responded “we absolutely need to control our borders…it’s bankrupting our state.” While he is a “huge supporter of legal immigration” he followed stating that “if the Federal Government doesn’t solve the problem I’ll send the National Guard to the border.”

One person asked how do you get anything done in a dysfunctional state government?  Great question. OC Treasurer/Tax Collector Chris Street stated “we are going from one crisis to another.” How true.
My sense is that the Flash Report and Red County blogs will provide additional event information as both Jon Fleischman and Matt Cunningham were in attendance.

There’s more that can be said about this candidate. Let me share but a few facts. “Poizner forced a 28 percent homeowners insurance rate cut from Allstate, the second-largest insurer in the state. He compelled HealthNet to reinstate thousands of wrongly canceled health insurance policies.”

At this point this is a “Exploratory Committee.”  For additional information go to his website.

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