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By Collin Breaux | Email: | Twitter: @collin_breaux

Chris Duncan, an Assembly candidate for the 73rd District, spoke about several issues of concern during Coffee Chat in San Juan Capistrano on Friday, Jan. 17.

Duncan lives in San Clemente, is running as a Democrat, and has worked in the Department of Homeland Security as an attorney. The 73rd District seat is currently held by Republican Bill Brough.

“I felt a need for urgent action for this district, (for) a candidate who wasn’t tied to political or special interests and didn’t have a career in politics but was coming from a pragmatic approach to solving problems,” said Duncan, who was a guest speaker at Coffee Chat. “That’s what I did at DHS and Customs and Border Protections, working with people of all different politics and having one mission we all came together to achieve.”

Duncan talked about regional concerns with the audience, including homelessness and proposed toll roads. Local control is needed to solve homelessness, and affordable housing and direction needs to come from the state, Duncan said.

“The money needs to flow down from the state to local governments,” said Duncan, who is now in private practice. “Well, the state’s not going to fund local governments if they don’t agree with the policy or if they haven’t been advocated to deliver money to local governments or aren’t

confident the local government will use the money as intended, so you need a voice to advocate to the government and state agencies. . . . I will be able to make that connection.”

As for the fallout from the Supreme Court decision on Martin v. City of Boise, Duncan said beds should be provided for people sleeping in public spaces since it’s the law, and discussions can be held about where those would be located. Housing should also be provided for people who want it and can get into it, he said.

“Talk to deputy sheriffs and the sheriff about this,” he said. “They want clarity. They want to know what they can act on and what they can’t act on. If there’s a bed, there’s clarity. If they don’t go to the bed, they can be arrested.”

As for the toll roads, Duncan said he hasn’t seen anything so far that justifies building another one or that an extension is necessary to alleviate traffic. Duncan also said the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) is not the right agency to determine where to build a toll road. The TCA is working with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to conduct studies on proposed routes.

Duncan said he wants to work against partisan forces in Sacramento, protect and help South Orange County, and get pro-business policies in place. The environment is also important to Duncan.

“We need to have a plan to handle sea-level rise and not just sort of hope that things get better in the future,” he said. “We need to sit down and bring people together to have a plan to prepare ourselves for when the sea level rises and what we’re going to do.”

The primary election is in March, and general elections are in November. Scott Rhinehart is also running on the Democratic ticket for the 73rd District.

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