I came about the decision to run for the State Assembly in an unconventional way compared to most that choose to serve. Some begin to think about the next rung on the political ladder the day after their most recent election. Some think of a wall full of plaques and photos with politicians qualify them to lead.
My decision was made standing in the checkout line in the grocery story. I’m not kidding.
At checkout, the very polite cashier asked if I wanted to pay an additional $.10 for paper grocery bags as they were no longer permitted to provide any bags beginning July 1st. Having raised six children, trust me when I say I have experienced lean times. With many people struggling to make ends meet, paying for groceries is a struggle. Just think about how much food we could buy if weren’t forced to pay ten cents for grocery bags. So that’s how it happened. It’s that simple.
State government was no longer protecting me. It was hitting me right where it hurt — my pocketbook.
Soaring food prices, the unemployment crisis, massive corporate tax dodging, none of that inspired Patricia Mckeon. The real threat, she says, is an extra twenty or thirty cents on grocery trips when you forget the reusable canvas bag.
Patricia’s husband happens to be Congressman Buck Mckeon, a nine-term lawmaker who wields the gavel in the House Armed Services Committee. Earlier this year, a Republican-controlled state assembly district in Mckeon’s Santa Clarita district opened up since the incumbent was term-limited out. Patricia, the congressman’s wife, surprised some local political observers by jumping into the race.
Despite the terrible ten cent tax for disposable paper grocery bags, Patricia is not struggling, at least she shouldn’t be. The Mckeon for Congress campaign provides Patricia with a $78,000 a year salary, a questionable arrangement for a close family member and the congressman’s donors. Though Patricia contends she does work for the campaign committee, other disclosures suggest the campaign has provided a car for her family and paid for certain trips. Congressman Mckeon also collects over $170,000 in salary as a legislator.
Two quick suggestions for Patricia. Find a more plausible reason to run for office. Or, run for the right office (the Los Angeles County Supervisors, not the state legislature, is responsible for the venomous bag tax).