Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 5:47 am | Fair 55º


Local News

John Hager Touts Independence, and a Laser Focus on Debt, Congressional Priorities

House hopeful says Capps and colleagues have led country to financial collapse

John Hager likes his job, but is willing to leave to relieve someone he believes has been lacking at her job.

John Hager
John Hager

The independent candidate for the 23rd Congressional District has no qualms about criticizing the current Congress, including Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and says bad decisions have led to the country’s financial collapse.

“If we were a business, the board of directors would have been fired,” he said.

A Santa Barbara resident since 1994, thanks to a particularly large verdict from a wrongful death case against Chevron, he founded the Hager & Dowling law firm and its philanthropic foundation that contributes to charities such as the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County.

Hager criticizes two decade-old pieces of legislation that caused unsupervised high-risk financial gambles, which Capps voted for. The regulation of insurance companies is essential to ensure they have the money to pay out claims, he said, citing AIG as an example of what has gone wrong.

His biggest issues are twofold: the priorities of Congress and dealing with the national debt.

There’s a lot of time and energy wasted on trivial items, like recognizing a football team for winning a game, which is a waste of scarce resources, he said. With limited means, he says, lawmakers’ time should be better managed to deal with the most important issues — such as the economy.

The issue of national debt impedes employment and business, he says, and serious federal spending cuts need to be made to stop piling on more debt, he said. Now, the uncertainty in the business and banking world means less credit and fewer jobs.

As an independent, Hager said he holds similar views with both Democrats and Republicans, but he doesn’t feel beholden to vote along any party lines. Everyone should spend just as much time talking with people who disagree with you than agree with you, he said, adding that he has had plenty of practice as a trial attorney.

A lot of people are committed to their political party for negative reasons, he said. Instead of liking their own party, they hate the other one, he says.

Hager’s campaign, which got a later start, is only accepting $250 amounts from each individual, as he’s an advocate for campaign finance reform. Many people have called him foolish for it, but he sees it as an opportunity to find more effective ways to communicate, through public appearances and online advertising.

With 325,000 registered voters in the 23rd District, even the cost of a single print mailer adds up pretty fast and is out of his reach, he said.

However, he’s reached a lot of voters already, as an independent bid for office requires gathering more than 9,700 signatures in 60 days — which he did.

If elected, he said he would use each month’s week of “district work” to come home and hold news conferences for local members of the media to “grill” him or hold public forums to catch everyone up on Congress’ progress.

“I’d rather say what I think than worry as much about votes,” he said. “If you don’t like me, that’s democracy, but if it’s because you don’t know anything about me, that’s disappointing.”

Additional Resources

» Click here for John Hager’s Noozhawk Q&A

» Click here for Hager’s campaign Web site

» Lois Capps Proudly Runs on Her Record, and Congress’ Accomplishments

» Darrell Stafford Assails Out-of-Touch Congress, Runaway Deficit

» Tom Watson Says Government Spending Is Nation’s Biggest Concern, Threat

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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