REGION — The youngest candidate for the 48th Congressional District seat told The Coast News he’s making government reform his top priority.
Community volunteer Matthew Rascon is one of four candidates on the June 7 primary ballot seeking to represent California’s 48th Congressional District, which now extends from the U.S.-Mexico border to Temecula, encasing communities such as Poway, Santee, Lakeside, Alpine, Ramona and parts of Escondido.
Fiftieth District incumbent Rep. Darrell Issa will face Rascon, Stephen Houlahan (registered nurse) and Lucinda Jahn (entertainment technician).
Rascon, 27, has his eyes set on cleaning up regulatory framework and to “bring some actual change” to Congress.
“In order for us to have better representation, real representation,” Rascon said, “first and foremost, we need to be better laws in place and regulations within the Congress itself.
Rascon continued, illustrating that, like construction projects, “you need a solid foundation or nothing will last.
“I feel like foundation is really what’s lacking right now with government,” he said.
Rascon and his three opponents are vying for the two-candidate ballot on November 8. He hopes to sway voters with his policies on term limits and mandatory divestiture — and hold lawmakers accountable for those who don’t comply.
Rascon proposes a two-term limit for senators and a six-term limit in the House of Representatives — calling for a maximum cap of 20 years in Congress.
To Rascon, this goal prevents one person from choke-holding office and redirects political parties from incumbent-driven efforts to ones that focus on the issues.
“The Senate is the place where you try and enact policy for the whole state,” he said,” As a representative, you really should be looking at your people and what they want. You are there to represent them and be their voice.”
He doesn’t believe that public officials who have invested in financial interests can fairly represent the citizens of the United States.
For example, “a representative heavily vested in pharmaceutical companies is inherently more likely to pass legislation that favors those companies, inflating their own net worth regardless of the outcome and potential repercussions,” he writes on his campaign website.
While his primary goal is to reform Congress, he knows he can’t lose touch with his home district. Townhalls will be commonplace, Rascon said, as part of an ongoing effort to hear from constituents about the ramifications of regulations.
In response to a question on his immigration policy — having a district that largely neighbors Mexico — Rascon hopes to encourage practices that allow for something mutually beneficial. He’s interested in reevaluating the country-percentage cap and the disbursement of where people want to go.
Praising the proposed Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act in 2019, Rascon encourages the continued welcome of skilled workers to the United States. He would like to explore methods to encourage those who come to the United States to less immigrant-dense states or areas.
“When there are those who are skilled in a particular field, having them go through to different states could be beneficial,” he said, particularly if the person is not immigrating to be with family. “New arrivals that don’t have that connection, we could incentivize to go to other states and help build them up.”
Not unlike some of his opponents, Rascon believes the “entire tax code needs quite the overhaul.”
He said that mainly, reform would come down to ensuring that corporations and billionaires pay their fair share.
“Oftentimes, their effective tax rate can be under 10%, if that,” he said. “That, in turn, means small businesses, medium-sized businesses, average taxpaying citizens, your average American ends up paying more of their share.
“They have to prop up what we give away for these corporations,” he said.
In San Diego County, land and accessibility to resources are crucial to the local economy. He would like to see domestic independence in some of these areas.
“I feel like regular people — myself included — have seen with the issue with supply chains through the Ukraine conflict that local production is pretty important down the road,” Rascon said. “You never know what can happen with global policy and global conflict, which can be a huge hindrance, which can end up being a huge price increase for everyday Americans.”
When asked how to bridge the gap between his urban and rural communities, Rason said he’s interested in thinking outside the box — or plot.
Rascon said vertical farming could alleviate resource shortages, drought woes, and port issues while also creating more options for urban development.
“When you have that kind of a setup, you need less square footage of land you’re building up so the overall area can take a reduction,” he said. “It does have focuses on things like hydroponics, where you have less particular soil requirements, less water requirements. Overall, you’re truly optimizing and trying to get the right ratio there, so you don’t have anything wasted.”
In response to addressing local issues, such as housing, Rascon is first concerned with adequate infrastructure. He said that he’s heard frustrations regarding new developments bogging down the community.
“Traffic flow is a huge concern whenever people hear talk of any new handling elements. So I think, first and foremost, making sure we have the proper infrastructure to then expand is important. laying the groundwork before you move to the next step.”
Rascon is also passionate about backing tribal sovereignty. While he hasn’t held any in-person meetings with local tribes, Rascon said he had a “few things lined up for the immediate future.”
While Rascon may be the greenest candidate, he knows the 48th District well. Rascon was born and raised in San Diego County, as is nearly everyone else in his family.
“My family one way or another has been here pretty much since there’s been a San Diego,” he said, adding, “and my father’s side of the family came up with Father [Junípero] Serra.”
Rascon said his campaign isn’t about swaying voters, but more about encouraging them to participate in civic engagement.
“Always research everyone on the ballot. You never know what position can do what,” he said, adding that the “state attorney office can often be overlooked completely come elections. So, it’s not just about your representative, but every single role.”
Rascon has worked in security, and he has an associate degree from Grossmont Community College in 2017.