|Archive of Mike Laursen's 2004 campaign for California Senate.
Make sure to visit Mike's political blog, Issuefish.
My platform emphasizes three issues that are vitally important to the people of District 13:
#1. Local Control of Public Schools / School Choice
During the recent budget crisis, Santa Clara County parents realized that our local K-12 public schools lose out financially in California's centrally-planned public education system. Control of public schools, including school funds, must be returned to local school districts. Local school administrators, accessible and accountable to their community, know better than remote State bureaucrats how funds are best used.
The existing jumble of categorical funds must be consolidated and simplified. According to the Sacramento Bee, the State of Maryland, with only 24 school districts, freed $300 million a year by turning most of its categorical funds into simple per-student allocations. California, with nearly a thousand school districts, would spend billions more efficiently.
The Federal "No Child Left Behind" Act, while well intentioned, is a big step in the wrong direction if we ever hope to regain local control of schools.
I oppose creeping growth in the regulation of charter schools. The Legislature approved the charter school program to let local school districts experiment with schools that are free from State regulations that purposely impose uniformity on public schools.
I propose that all California colleges, public and private, be given the authority to sponsor charter schools. These college-sponsored schools would prepare students for admission to the sponsoring institution. And improve our more traditional public schools by providing much-needed competition.
To provide more choice for parents, and for teachers, I support any legislation, or repeal of legislation, that will increase school choice: vouchers, tax credits for private school tuition, reduced regulation of private schools, and competition among public schools for enrollees.
#2. Small Government
The Libertarian Party seeks a minimal level of government that leaves room for individuality, productivity and creativity, and free trade. As an alternative to the "nanny state", we would like to see the resurgence of non-governmental social organizations: family, church, schools, civic organizations and private philanthropy.
During recent boom years, the state legislature approved huge increases in spending with a shocking disregard for including oversight provisions to make sure your tax money is not wasted.
I oppose unfunded State mandates to lower levels of government. Take, for example, SB1953, which requires the costly rebuilding of hospitals throughout California. The State Legislature passed this mandate, but left the problem of funding to local public hospital districts and private hospitals. The citizens of Santa Clara County are not stupid. We could have decided this hospital safety issue at the local level, weighing the benefits against the costs.
Business-Friendly Government / No Corporate Welfare
Californians cannot afford to alienate businesses with excessive taxes, regulation, and the nation's worst workers' compensation system. However, supporting business does not mean that businesses should receive subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare.
I will not vote for any legislation that I have not read. I will vote against any legislation that I cannot personally understand. If only our Republican and Democratic representatives in Congress had bothered to read the USA PATRIOT Act before voting for it.
#3. Civil Liberties for All
The legal rights, and responsibilities, of same-sex unions should be fully equivalent to those of traditional marriages.
Eminent Domain Abuse
I oppose the use of eminent domain to transfer property from one private property owner to another.
In 1998, the citizens of California voted overwhelmingly for Proposition 215, allowing doctors to recommend marijuana to fight the effects of various human ailments. Those entities which are legally sanctioned by their local municipalities, under Proposition 215, to grow and distribute medical marijuana and are following the letter of the law should not be caught between State and Federal politics. Let the California Attorney General, through the courtroom, speak for the people of California.
Mexican and other Latin American workers are a valuable part of California's economy. We should acknowledge their valuable role and make it easier for these workers to legally seek employment in California. Admittedly, this issue is a Federal matter, but California legislators have a great deal of influence over Federal immigration policy.
The decision to have an abortion is one that should be made by a woman and her doctor.