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Day after day, I read the news in disbelief.

Dishonesty, deceit, racism, disrespect of people and cultures, efforts to divide us, and the destruction of our environment – the list goes on. This is not the government I want nor the one I will accept.

I’m Bill Ostrander and I’m running to represent California’s 35th Assembly District, which includes all of San Luis Obispo County and almost 50% of Santa Barbara County.

Now, more than ever, we must all pledge to play a part in reclaiming our country. For my part:
— I believe that health care is a human right and not a privilege.
— I believe that obscene amounts of money are corrupting our democracy.
— I believe that every person deserves access and opportunity to better themselves and our community through advanced vocational and post secondary education at a low cost as California once provided.
— As a farmer and rancher, I know first-hand how agricultural practices can help us reduce carbon and fight global warming.

For these reasons and more, I’ve made the decision to run for our State Assembly’s 35th District to move our region and our state toward shared community goals. The best means to combat shameful federal policies is to ensure a strong and independent state government.

I also believe that campaigns shouldn’t be waged by commercials, post office mailers and email blasts – although I’m forced to do some of that to reach our 470,000 constituents.  I don’t believe people would be so sick of our campaigns and election process if what we did was publicly discuss where we want to go as a community, state and country.  That’s why I’ve asked my opponent to participate in a series of seven debates in public parks throughout our district in the style of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. These debates will be an opportunity for a substantive dialogue about where we are going and how we want to get there.

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The issues Douglas and Lincoln discussed were of critical importance to a “house divided,” which is what this country seems to be once again.

Issues like taxes, income inequality, racial and gender equality, immigration, water rights, environmental quality, and respect for our public institutions are tough issues being inflamed by calculated mistrust of our media and monied interests.  But most of us want the same things: a job that allows us to get ahead, good health, a safe environment, and the constitutional right to pursue happiness.

These debates will be free to the public because that’s what democracy dictates. I believe that everyone, regardless of political party, deserves a meaningful discussion of the complex issues that are crucial to our future. I have asked my opponent to join me in laying out our visions for the future for our district, our communities, and our state. We will provide voters with the information and then let the people decide.

With the extraordinary energy of protest and resistance we’ve experienced here in the 35th Assembly District and across the country, we have an extraordinary opportunity to “form a more perfect union”.

Remember, it’s not THE government, it’s OUR government, and we must all take part for democracy to flourish.

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