PASO ROBLES, Calif. - Democrat Congressman Jimmy Panetta and Republican challenger Jeff Gorman have divergent views on the role they should play in Washington D.C. Both men are running to represent parts of Northern San Luis Obispo County in U.S. Congress District 19.
"I'm not here to brag about what I'm going to do for other people," Gorman said. "I think that's a terrible trap that people that are hungry for power set in order to get the people into a subjective mindset where they are dependent on the government for things. I want the American people to be independent of the need for a Federal Government handout."
Panetta is seeking a fourth term in Congress.
"In this job you really can affect people's lives," Panetta said. "You can do that through case work. You can do that through Federal legislation, and you can do that through Federal funding. Obviously, I've seen it in the tens of thousands of people that we've worked with and helped with that personal government issue."
Panetta represents District 20 in Congress. With district lines being redrawn after the most recent census, he is now running to represent District 19.
"I've passed eight bills just in this Congress alone," Panetta said. "Bills that will reduce our carbon output, reduce our wildfire threat, bolster our threatened species, protect our seniors in nursing homes and enhance the future of our military members."
Gorman has a financial services business.
"I've witnessed what's going on with our economy and I'm very concerned we're going in the wrong direction," Gorman said.
He says he wants the Federal Government to focus on foreign policy and a good stable economy. He's concerned about inflation and says if we don't change our ways it's going to get worse.
"It's about a mismatch in our economy," Gorman said. "We've been paying people not to work. We've been discouraging domestic production of energy, but also all sorts of other goods. We've seen off-shoring of the economy. Those are the concerns that I have."
Gorman wants more domestic oil production, and encourages pipelines for it.
Panetta wants to see a pivot to clean energy through incentives. He also supports providing incentives to developers to create more middle-income work-force housing.
"It's up to the locals to decide what projects fit their communities," Panetta said. "But I as a Federal representative will ensure the Federal funding is there for them to support those projects."
District 19 now includes the San Luis Obispo county cities of Cambria, Templeton, Paso Robles and Atascadero.