Congressman Jeff Denham made national headlines when as a State Senator he suggested that the State of California sell off San Quentin to provide a boost to the cash-strapped state.
A lot has changed in the three years since he thrust California’s financial woes in to the spotlight by suggesting that one of the most recognizable prisons in the world be razed to use the 432-acre bay-front property for private use. One thing remains constant: his desire to get rid of property that is no longer needed.
On Tuesday, Denham – the Chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management – spoke at a meeting of the South San Joaquin Republicans about his push to sell-off federally-owned buildings that are no longer serving the public use for which they were intended.
Putting that money back into the nation’s coffers and allowing businesses to come in and expand into new facilities, Denham said, just makes sense – especially if the government wants to start making headway into the national debt in an attempt to save programs that seniors are dependent upon.
“If we’re going to save Social Security and we’re going to save Medicare we’re going to have to reduce that,” he said – calling the explosion of the debt to $16 trillion as unpatriotic. “There’s only one party that’s doing that and it’s being driven by its freshman class. There are real stakes on the line right now.
“We need more people that are willing to go up there and fight for our community – either do that or go home,” the Republican said.
Denham, who is running for a second term in a newly-formed district that encompasses most of Manteca and Stanislaus County, said that he has working diligently to cut out unnecessary spending on both sides of the aisle – calling conferences and travel to places like Maui while many Americans are struggling to make their house payments “arrogant.”
He also said he’d like to see a committee similar to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission – which closed both Castle and McClellan Air Force Bases in the 1990s – employed to look at the government buildings that aren’t being utilized and costing taxpayers millions of dollars every year simply to maintain.
And he tapped his experience in the California Legislature as an example of his dedication towards ensuring financial solvency for the people he represents.
During the budget standoff in 2007, Denham – whom Democrats targeted as a potential swing vote to end the crisis – refused to vote in favor of the budget because it wasn’t balanced. Powerful State Senator Don Perata organized a recall attempt for what he viewed as dissent, but Denham regarded the attempt as a badge of honor – proving that he was willing to face being voted out of office before voting for a budget that he felt wasn’t adequate.
Denham is facing off with former NASA astronaut and engineer Jose Hernandez for the 10th District seat.