Andrea Seastrand

The safety of law-abiding citizens is not a priority for Congressman Carbajal

Congressman Salud Carbajal, left, is once again facing Republican Justin Fareed in the November election.
Congressman Salud Carbajal, left, is once again facing Republican Justin Fareed in the November election.

Buyer’s remorse is bad enough for any person who has made an expensive purchase that doesn’t live up to expectations. Turns out the same feeling can apply to politicians when the people who elect them don’t get what they were expecting, and in this case the consequences are far more severe than buying a bad toaster. There is plenty of buyer’s remorse to go around after the first term of Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal who has already cast extreme votes on issues such as public safety and Israel despite being in office less than two years.

Frustration with Carbajal is not just a partisan sentiment. Just a few weeks after Carbajal was sworn into office, Steve Zipperstein, a former chief assistant United States attorney and a Carbajal donor during the campaign, was already regretting his support for the congressman after Carbajal opposed a measure to condemn a biased, anti-Israeli UN Resolution. The measure had bipartisan support and only 18 percent of house members joined Carbajal in opposing it. While he claimed he supported Israel during the campaign, when it came time to vote, his actions spoke louder than his empty promises.

Carbajal’s shaky record in Congress is important because the Central Coast will play an important role in the battle for control of the House of Representatives this November. There are two striking choices before voters.

On one hand, there is Congressman Carbajal, a career politician who cannot manage his own finances and takes extreme positions. On the other, we have small businessman Justin Fareed who is ready to be an independent voice in Congress while staying true to the values of Central Coast voters.

Voters should take a look at Carbajal’s record to figure out whether he is looking after their interests. They will not like what they find.

Carbajal’s voting record in Congress appears to heavily favor ideology over the situation on the ground in his district. Our nation’s laws have serious consequences for things such as public safety, and we need someone representing us in Washington, D.C. who has the right priorities.

Congressman Carbajal chose politics over public safety when he opposed Kate’s Law, named in honor of the late Kate Steinle. The bill would have given federal prosecutors a valuable tool to prevent undocumented immigrants from repeatedly entering the country after being deported and have added extra penalties for those who were previously convicted of crimes.

Common sense policies like Kate’s law could have a real impact on our community. In 2015, prior to Carbajal’s election to Congress, Santa Maria resident Marilyn Pharis was sexually assaulted and murdered in her home by an undocumented immigrant who was arrested six times in the year-and-a-half leading up to her murder. The killer had been the subject of an immigration detainer after being arrested for attempted sexual assault and should have been deported long before he ever committed the crime. Despite knowing the facts of this horrible case when making his vote, Carbajal still opposed Kate’s Law.

Law enforcement professionals are supporting Justin Fareed’s campaign because they know that keeping law-abiding members of the community safe is far from Carbajal’s top priority. Since the horrible death of Marilyn Pharis, multiple college students on the Central Coast were victimized by an Uber driver — an undocumented immigrant who returned to the region after previously being deported. Public safety policy has consequences that Carbajal is failing to understand. Given that California is now a sanctuary state, having a common-sense federal immigration policy that holds criminals accountable becomes all the more important.

Fareed is far more in touch with the Central Coast than Carbajal. He is a small business owner and third-generation rancher who has spent time getting to know what’s important to the community. He also knows how to represent those values as an effective advocate in Washington, D.C. from his time as a Congressional staffer.

In Carbajal, we not only have someone who isn’t willing to stand up for public safety, we also have someone who is irresponsible with his own finances. Despite making a six-figure salary, in the early 1990s Carbajal had three federal tax liens filed against him, totaling $11,000. Ironically, Nancy Pelosi put Carbajal on the Budget Committee despite his lack of fiscal acumen as evidenced by his shaky personal finances.

The Central Coast needs a responsible person in Congress who is willing to put the interests of the community over ideology and politics. Even some of Carbajal’s supporters are regretting sending him to Washington. Just looking at Carbajal’s record tells you all you need to know about his term in Congress. The Central Coast can do much better.

Conservative columnist Andrea Seastrand is a former representative for the 22nd Congressional District, a longtime grass-roots activist and current president of the Central Coast Taxpayers Association. Her column runs in The Tribune twice a month, in rotation with liberal columnist Tom Fulks.