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October 21-22
2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,000 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]


On September 20, a congressional debate between U.S. Rep. Steve Knight, the Republican incumbent, and Katie Hill, the Democratic nominee, was held at the Larry Chimbole Cultural Center in Palmdale. There was a long line and there were many people who were not able to attend the debate due to limited space.

It is unfortunate that the entire 25th Congressional District could not get access to the debate to hear about the candidates’ platform, because Knight was not willing to have the debate recorded. The moderator kept cutting Hill off when she was answering questions that the moderator was asking her. Not being able to record and document what Knight and Hill stated during the debate makes it difficult for our community to hold both of them accountable to what they say. The decision of this race will make a huge impact on our community.

Knight stated that there were plenty of jobs in the Antelope Valley and not enough employees to fill them. He neglected [to say] that many of his constituents in the district struggle with finding stable, good-paying jobs. He also failed to provide any mentorship or services to help his constituents to find work if he is serious that there are not enough employees.

According to Bureau of Labor and Statistics (2018), California’s unemployment rate is at 4.2 percent while Santa Clarita is at 5.1 percent, Palmdale is at 6.8 percent, Lancaster is at 7 percent, and Littlerock is at 12.8 percent. Since the unemployment rate is higher in the 25th District than the rest of the state, it is clear that Knight has not done much to help those in the district with the higher unemployment rate.

In the debate, Knight stated that the economy has been booming while he was in office. Stocks may have increased; however, that does not mean employment opportunities and wages have increased as well. They are two different measurements. He has neglected about the growing poverty and homeless rates in the 25th District. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (2018), homelessness in Santa Clarita along with San Fernando, Burbank and Glendale (SPA-2), have reported to about 7,738 individuals experiencing homelessness in the district this year. Out of the 7,738, there are 5,716 that do not have any shelter to stay at. According to LAHSA, in the Antelope Valley (SPA-1), there were about 3,203 people experiencing homelessness in 2018 and 2,523 people did not have a shelter to go to. According to LAHSA, homelessness in SPA-2 increased from 7,334 people in 2016 to 7,738 people in 2018. Homelessness has also increased in SPA-1, from 3,038 people in 2016 to 3,203 people in 2018. While Knight has been in office for the last two years, he did not even help the community when there was a homeless shelter that was closing in the district.

Knight stated in the debate that he was in favor of Social Security. However, he has been recorded in previous debates that, “Social security was a bad idea” (Daily Kos 2016). Knight has not given any explanation as to why he said that in the past and why he said that he currently supports Social Security.

Elections are coming up soon on November 6. However, it is unfair to the 25th District that an elected official’s decisions that impact me and my community are on the line due to limited access to congressional debates to be a more informed voter and limited ways to hold our elected officials accountable regardless of party. I do not appreciate how Knight keeps lying and changing his platform as we have his voting records listed on various nonpartisan sources. Knight’s opponent, Katie Hill, is a strong candidate. Her values are more aligned with the district such as on Medicare for All, addressing poverty, addressing homelessness, and rebuilding the middle class which Knight fails and does not have any solution to offer for issues facing the 25th District.

 

Enaya Hanbali is a native Southern Californian of Arab American descent. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in public policy and administration from California State University, Long Beach. She works at a hospital in the 25th Congressional District.

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