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Six Questions for Assembly Candidate Donna Lowe

Patch chatted with pro-business, anti-union State Assembly Candidate Donna Lowe to find out why she's running, how she would balance the State budget and what she would do for small businesses.

Donna Lowe is a Claremont-based businesswoman who is running for State Assembly in the new 41st district, which includes South Pasadena, Altadena, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, and extends east to Upland. A life-long Republican and a member of the Tea Party, she is pro-business and anti-union.

Lowe is an employee of SafeNet, Inc., a data and intellectual property protection company. Lowe’s campaign material describes her as “a champion of free enterprise.”

Endorsements

Senator Bob Huff, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Sierra Madre City Councilmember Chris Koerber, TeaPAC President Michael Alexander, among other area political leaders, have endorsed Lowe. Lowe is not endorsed by any unions. See a full list of her endorsements.

Political Experience

Lowe is currently an alternate on the 59th Assembly District Committee, and serves on her city’s Community Services Commission. She founded the Claremont Conservatives Tea Party, is a spokesperson for Claremont Taxpayers for Common Sense, and is a former board member of the Mountain View Republican Club.

Campaign Finances and Donors

Total money raised: $57,614

Total donors: 77

Top donors:

  • Deb Cavanaugh, $3,900
  • Joe Cavanaugh, $3,900
  • Jean Fuller for Senate, $3,900
  • Shannon Grove for State Assembly, $3,900
  • Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, $3,900
  • Kevin McCarthy for Congress, $3,900
  • Turner’s Operations (Firearms Dealer), $3,900
  • Diane Bowden, $3,900
  • DeWitt Petroleum, $2,500

Lowe does not have any union donors.

There were three donors listed from Sierra Madre, including City Councilmember and his wife. All of the donations were $200 and under.

The Interview

Patch spoke with Lowe in a phone interview as part of a series of profiles on 41st Assembly candidates. The following interview has been edited for length.

Why are you running?

About four or five years ago… I saw what was happening to California. There seems to be more attention and strength given to empowering unions versus building up business and being a business-friendly state. As a business professional, I see it first hand.

I got fed up with the hostile attitude Sacramento takes towards businesses. We are not inviting for people to come here and start their dreams here. It affects every single person in the state. We drive revenue out of the state. We make it easier for companies to leave and go to Texas or Arizona.

I have two kids in public education; I see cuts and see what it does. We don’t have revenue for the state. By electing candidates like myself, [voters will send] someone who is pro-business instead of pro-union.

What needs to be changed in Sacramento?

Right now Sacramento is very dysfunctional, there’s no balance. You’ve got 52 Democrats who are pro-union, pro-radical environment, pro-open borders and it’s been that way for years now and it’s not good for this state. I urge voters to send a different kind of candidate up there. One who is for the people, by the people, not for the unions or special interest groups.

How will your experience as an IT Business Manager help you in the Assembly?

I manage all of [SafeNet, Inc.’s] reseller partners for all of Western North America. I work with a unique blend of resellers from different states. I see how, for instance Texas, how they’re kind of just left alone and the government isn’t always so hostile to them. I see how other states work, I see from a business standpoint what needs to be done to repeal oppressive regulations. It qualifies me to be able to bring [to California] what other states are doing to attract business in their state.

What will you do for small business owners?

There are actually numerous small business bills put forth last year that got shot down. Oftentimes, with small business owners, you have one individual in the business doing ten different tasks. California has strict regulations on workweeks that are detrimental to small business owners.

Editor’s Note: Lowe referenced SB 1114 and SB 1115, which would have allowed for more flexible work schedules for employees of small businesses. Under current law, a 40-hour workweek must be divided up into eight-hour days. Anything over eight hours would require the employer to pay overtime. Those bills, which were shot down, would have allowed employees to work up to ten hours per day until they reached 40 hours per week instead.

Oftentimes a small business, if they have a big project or big report due, need all hands on deck for two full days. So, the owner ends up doing everything. They make those laws because it mirrors what the public unions require and mandate in work force.

While I love having clean air and clean water, we also are ranked 50th in business friendliness. We’re left with poverty, unemployment. There’s got to be a balance between the two.

Your campaign website says that California has the richest reserves in oil and natural resources, but we are prohibited from tapping into it. Does this mean you want to bring the drilling and mining industry here?

Yes, I would like to open up California. I would be in support of opening up our natural resources. We spend way too much money on foreign oil. We have our own natural resources here, coupled with innovative technology like wind mills… I am in full support of working with oil and gas companies because we do have a rich reserve here and it is a vital revenue stream, and it’s untouched.

I’ve met with numerous oil and gas executives in Bakersfield. They are the most responsible, but the media pins them as the villains. They give back more to land, community and sustainability than any other industry out there. I think that it could be a wildly successful revenue stream.

How will you work to balance the budget?

There are 520 different agencies in California that are subsidized jobs… we need to take a hard look at those 520 agencies and see which ones are redundant and which can be eliminated. [Governor Jerry] Brown is cutting public safety and education, but not looking at all these other agencies that are not providing any vital services to California.

A new government in Wisconsin came in and broke up collective bargaining in the state. For the first time they’ll have a balanced budget and $165m in reserves. They went 41st to 20th in the nation in business friendliness and are inviting manufacturers to come back. Unemployment is at 6.6%.

It can be done, but only if the government is willing to shake the hold the unions have over Sacramento and let the free market run how it’s supposed to.

More on Assembly Candidates:

What do you think of the candidates so far?

Carolyn Gonzales May 31, 2012 at 10:42 AM
I am voting for Donna Lowe for the 41st Assembly since she is the best candidate and will do a far better job than any of the other candidates. I have heard her speak at more than five forums, receptions, etc. and the depth of her knowledge and commitment is impressive. It is unfortunate that author Cassandra Morris failed to truly capture the dynamics of Lowe. In comparing Morris's interview style with other Patch authors, it lacks in professionalism and accuracy. For instance, Morris writes as a quote from Lowe, " I see from a business standpoint what needs to be down to appeal oppressive regulations." In fact the true quote was, "I see, from a business standpoint, what needs to be DONE (not down) to REPEAL (not appeal), oppressive regulations." Sloppy writing or biased journalism? Either way, Morris's writing skills lacked professionalism and depth. Unfortunately, the readers of the Patch received a report on Lowe that is very misleading. Shame on Cassandra Morris - she should have taken her assignment more seriously.. she owed that to the readers of the Patch.
Cassandra Morris May 31, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Carolyn, thanks for your input. I do not think my article was biased. At times, things do get lost in translation when speaking via cell phones. I have corrected the quote. Thanks so much for checking out the article. Best, Cassandra

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