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Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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Tuesday November 8, 2022 — California General Election
United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 48

Photo of Stephen Houlahan

Stephen Houlahan

Registered Nurse
101,900 votes (39.6%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Make the Economy Work for Everyone: The high inflation rate is unacceptable. Wealthy corporations have soaring profits, but workers do not earn their fair share. Workers' pay should increase as profits increase.
  • Improve Healthcare: The U.S. pays more for Healthcare than any other nation. Yet, patient results lag behind other nations. The pandemic revealed gaps that should be filled through more protections for patients.
  • Focus on Energy and Climate: Wealthy corporations that produce oil and gas get billions in subsidies every year. Taxpayers also pay higher prices for their products. Congress should eliminate subsidies to these profitable corporations.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Registered Nurse
Registered Nurse, Sharp Health Care (2009–current)
Member of the City Council, City of Santee — Elected position (2016–2020)

Education

University of San Diego Master of the Science of Nursing (MSN) and Master of Business Administration (MBA), Hospital Systems Administration and Business Administration (2003)
San Diego State University Bachelor of Science, Nursing (1998)

Community Activities

President, Save Mission Trails 501(c)3 (2012–current)

Biography

MEET STEPHEN HOULAHAN Stephen lives and breathes California's 48th congressional district. Raised in Santee, he has traveled the U.S. as a nurse, catching sight of the Rockies and vast beauty of Alaska, but always returned home to the Golden State. Raised by a hardworking single mom, Stephen knows what families in California are going through. His mom worked two jobs to make ends meet, while Stephen slept in the family living room and helped raise his younger sister. Working since he was 13 years old, Stephen is full of grit and determination. He attended the University of San Diego, earning both a Masters in Nursing and an MBA. He went on to serve his neighbors on the City Council and as Vice Mayor. Working across party lines with four Republicans as the lone Democrat, he stopped a power plant and pipeline from threatening the air and water quality in his community and the health of his neighbors. He has protected his community from corruption by fighting for and passing term limits and took on the entire council to call for inclusionary housing policies in the face of corporate development. Before serving on the frontlines of COVID, Stephen ensured that emergency responders were paid a fair wage and had the resources they needed to do their jobs. Dismayed and angry about the mismanagement of the COVID crisis and the failures of elected officials — Stephen is running to protect his family, friends, and neighbors.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

What legislation, if any, would you support to reduce American greenhouse gas production?  Please explain the reasons for your position.
Answer from Stephen Houlahan:

As your member of Congress, I will combat climate change by protecting wildlands, rivers, estuaries and the ocean from harmful uses. I will protect the backcountry of East County from urban sprawl and large wind and solar farms. The Cleveland National Forest must be a protected water shed, for public recreation, not permanent housing or industrial level power generation.  

Furthermore, I will create subsidies for microgrids, rather than industrial-scale production. Innovative use of ocean currents to generate energy for communities along the coast, geothermal energy for use by communities near these sources, wind energy produced by wind farms located closer to the users, and distributive solar on individual homes or near buildings where energy is used. We must reduce wildfire-causing wires strung across miles of wildlands that are subject to damage by high winds during East County’s annual Santa Ana events.  

Should immigration laws be changed?  What changes would you support?  Please explain why.
Answer from Stephen Houlahan:

Our immigration system needs comprehensive reform. This has been sought for years by immigration lawyers, members of Congress and numerous presidents. The main hindrance to getting this done is the unwillingness of many politicians to work collaboratively on immigration law.  

Assuming that no comprehensive reform can be achieved, I propose the following:  

1) Create a path to citizenship over eight years for those here unlawfully (about 10.5 million people). Many of these residents are married to U.S. citizens and have children born and raised here. They are employed, pay taxes and are a productive part of our communities.  

2) Update the family-based immigration system, which would allow family members to enter the nation and become citizens. This would ensure that families would stay together.

As Congress Member what, if any, policies or legislation would you support to preserve democracy for all US residents?
Answer from Stephen Houlahan:

The reason why I am running for the U.S. House of Representatives is that the people of the United States are more polarized than ever. It is time for working citizens to stand up and fight for the life of our democracy.  

As we all know, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Bearing this in mind, I will, when elected, serve all of my constituents in the 48th Congressional District.  

I’ve lived in this area my entire life, and as a resident of the newly established 48th Congressional District, I know and collaborate with many whose political preferences differ from mine. However, we share many basic values on family and community. Just as when I coach my son’s West Hills Little League team, I work for the entire group. Our community means more to me than any partisan connection!  

As a member of Congress, I will listen to the voices from across the entire 48th Congressional District. I will hold town halls, survey constituents and have offices in at least two areas of the district, so my staff can easily assist constituents.  

The Federal Government plays a part in California water allocation and use through a variety of projects and laws.  What, if any, new programs or projects or reforms to existing programs and projects would you support in an effort to handle water shortages caused by the current and any future drought?
Answer from Stephen Houlahan:

As your representative from the 48th Congressional District, I will support federal grants for local agencies and individuals, to continue programs to supply water to their ratepayers.  I will also support new projects that these agencies may develop to augment their current programs.  Severe drought conditions require such an initiative.

 

San Diego County is enduring its ninth driest year in 128 years: fewer than 5.33 inches of rain have fallen, based on the normal amount.  Therefore, this issue merits stronger federal support, than a loan and mere words.

 

In congress, I will provide grants to the Advanced Water Purification agency, instead of a loan.  This joint power authority was created by the Padre Dam and Helix Water Districts, as well as the city of El Cajon and San Diego County.  

 

I will also fund individual actions, as part of the solution.  I will vote to supply rebates to those who buy rain barrels and supply some of their own water.  In addition, I will support subsidies for installation and use of gray water systems that reuse water from laundry, dishwater, baths, and showers.

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

Total money raised: $37,842

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

1
Employees of K Rowe Investments Llc
$2,900
2
Employees of Activ Motif
$624
3
Employees of Eon Silicon Solutions Inc
$250
3
Employees of Inshape
$250
3
Employees of Lumentum
$250
3
Employees of Otay Water District
$250

More information about contributions

By State:

California 92.91%
Hawaii 5.67%
Alaska 1.42%
92.91%

By Size:

Large contributions (46.62%)
Small contributions (53.38%)
46.62%53.38%

By Type:

From organizations (0.00%)
From individuals (100.00%)
100.00%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Election Integrity The United States of America is the birthplace of modern democracy. We believe that everyone deserves the right to vote and to participate in our democracy. That is why as your congressman, I will do whatever it takes to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

I believe that life’s quality improves when people can engage in the decisions that impact their lives. That’s why we need to make it easier to vote, not harder. We need to make sure that partisan gerrymandering stops and we don’t keep ending up with districts that look like this in order to cut out entire populations. 

California can set the example for the rest of the country: we already have same-day voter registration, and most counties already allow early voting. 

Fighting Corruption

None of the policy priorities we have listed above are attainable if we don’t tackle corruption head on. That is why as your congressman, I will advance a 3-step plan to fight corruption:

1.Build strong and enduring institutions 2.Provide transparency of government finances 3.Bring integrity to Congress’s payment structures

Position Papers

Top Domestic and International Priority in Congress

Summary

My top domestic priority is to strengthen our economy. My top international priority is protecting our country from terrorism and war by ensuring our country’s armed forces are strong.

My top domestic priority is to strengthen our economy. The current rate of inflation is unacceptable and I will address the root cause. While unemployment is down to 3.6%, those who are working are not reaping the benefits of having jobs. Prices, especially at the gas pump, are skyrocketing. Corporations are unfairly profiting from this situation. Some wealthy corporations pay no taxes at all, leaving the middle class to pay higher taxes to cover the shortfall. As a member of congress, I will lead a bi-partisan effort to protect consumers from price-gouging. I will also work to make the tax system fairer.

My top international priority is protecting our country from terrorism and war by ensuring our country’s armed forces are strong. The best ways to address this are by enhancing our intelligence and collaboration with allies, in addition to having a well-equipped military. I will work on a bipartisan basis to defend our nation, as it is the prime responsibility of government under our Constitution.

Addressing Economic Pressure Facing Americans

Summary

I will use the available tools to mitigate inflation. That tool is deficit reduction. Growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will also ease the economic pressure.

The only way to address the economic pressures facing Americans is for our leaders to make sound fiscal decisions that transcend partisan politics and special interests. 

While inflation management is the primary job of the Federal Reserve Central Bank, over which the House of Representatives lacks jurisdiction, I will use the available tools to mitigate inflation. That tool is deficit reduction. When I vote on the version of the budget produced by the House Budget Committee, I will consider it with an eye toward deficit reduction. This means that I must work with others in Congress to cut excessive expenditures. 

Growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will also ease the economic pressure, but requires reinvestment in infrastructure and subsidization of emerging technologies. The law of supply and demand are driving the massive increase in gas prices, requiring an “all of the above” approach which includes conversion to a clean energy future that denies tyrants the ability to hold the world hostage with fossil fuel price gouging.

Housing, Homelessness, and Veteran Affairs

Summary

Affordable housing is an important component of every community. Homelessness requires a multipronged approach to ever be solved. Veterans in our district are numerous and often overlooked.

As your Representative at the Federal level, I would use my influence to ensure our taxpayer money was returned to the local level to address local issues including housing, homelessness, and veterans’ affairs. 

Affordable housing is an important component of every community, giving families a place to start and elderly a place to retire in proximity to their children. As a former city council member, I was a champion for inclusionary housing. In Congress I will fight for Federal subsidies which are needed to incentivize affordable housing development.

Homelessness requires a multipronged approach to ever be solved. Federal dollars are needed at the local level to fund the mental health, substance abuse, occupational training, and transitional living programs that solve homelessness.

Veterans in our district are numerous and often overlooked. They served our country, protected our freedom, and it’s time that the Federal Government lived up to its promises to our veterans. The Veterans' Affairs Committee oversees the VA Healthcare system. My knowledge in the healthcare field will help me to improve the service provided by this huge system. There is a real problem with wait times for care. There are many suicides that occur because the veterans are unable to get the service they need to deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other service related conditions. I will work with advocacy groups, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Vietnam Veterans of America to ensure that veterans are properly housed and cared for.

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