REGION — When California Assemblywoman Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel) ran for the 73rd District two years ago, it was important to her that she represented everyone’s voice in her district once elected and brought “good, common-sense policy” to Sacramento.
Now she aims to do the same for the newly-formed 74th District.
Davies, a Republican, is the sole GOP candidate running for the seat in the June 7 primary election. She will likely automatically advance to face-off against Chris Duncan, the lone Democrat.
Davies previously served as a Laguna Niguel City Council member and mayor between 2012 and 2020 before she was elected to the State Assembly. She currently represents the 73rd District prior to the 2020 Census redistricting process, which mostly covered Orange County all the way down from Mission Viejo to San Clemente.
After redistricting, the 73rd shifted northward with Irvine as its new center while most of its old territory became the 74th, including Laguna Niguel where Davies is based. The newly-drawn 74th District also covers Oceanside and Vista as well as part of Fallbrook and Bonsall.
During her time on City Council, Davies became interested in how state policy affects local municipalities, which led her to become a state assemblywoman. Though a Republican, Davies said she has worked closely with politicians across the political aisle to get six bills passed during her two-year term, which she noted seldom happens.
Republicans and Democrats have more in common than what many may think, according to Davies.
“The majority of us support small businesses,” Davies said about both parties, noting the focus to help small businesses recover following the economic devastation from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Davies herself is a small business owner running Five Star Weddings & Events since 2000.
One of the bills she authored was AB 381, which requires licensed alcohol and drug treatment facilities to have at least two doses of naloxone or a similar drug approved for the treatment of an opioid overdose on site. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law last October.
Davies also introduced legislation at the beginning of the year that would help hold oil companies more accountable for oil spills. The bill would require vessels to notify state and federal agencies when they strike or think they have struck a pipeline in state waters.
Davies introduced the pipeline legislation following the oil spill in Orange County discovered last year that leaked 25,000 gallons of oil from a rig off the coast of Huntington Beach.
Another local environmental issue Davies is focusing on is sand retention among the mostly coastal area her district covers.
“We’re losing our beaches,” she said.
Davies noted that the state and local municipalities need to be working in tandem with the Coastal Commission to address sea level rise mitigation efforts as well.
Sand retention will likely require multiple solutions rather than a “one size fits all” fix to the region’s disappearing beaches, Davies explained.
Davies has also previously worked with the League of California Cities to bring more local control back into the hands of municipalities regarding new development. She cited recent bills like SB 9, which requires cities to allow one additional residential unit onto parcels zoned for single-dwelling units, have worsened parking and other public safety concerns at the local level.
“As Laguna Niguel residents, we know what’s really needed in our city,” she said. “Having someone from the State who has never been to your city telling you how to do things is not how it should work.”
Homelessness is another big issue for the district. Davies wants to see improved mental health treatment options that would help people get off the street and into a treatment facility where psychologists could work with them and eventually get them to a point where they can find a home and join the workforce once again.
The need for more affordable housing is also great within the district. According to Davies, the expensive cost to build homes in California is why prices are so high for buyers, which is why she would like to see tax and fee cuts on materials used to build homes.
From her time on City Council to her current role as an assembly member, Davies said she has prioritized public safety issues.
Having been appointed to the Orange County Fire Authority Board in 2017, Davies noted she would like to see more funding directed toward first responders like firefighters, who are fighting severe fires more frequently throughout the state.
“Fire season is now year round, so we need to make sure our first responders have the equipment they need,” she said.