REGION — Lucinda Jahn doesn’t want your money, she wants a voice.
Jahn is one of four candidates on the June 7 primary ballot to represent California’s redrawn 48th Congressional District. Following the November election, the district’s new boundary lines extend from the U.S.-Mexico border to Temecula, encompassing communities such as Poway, Santee, Lakeside, Alpine, Ramona and parts of Escondido.
Incumbent Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who currently represents the 50th District, will face Jahn, an entertainment technician who’s running as an independent; Democrat Stephen Houlahan, a registered nurse; and community volunteer Matthew Rascon, a Democrat.
No single incident sparked Jahn’s desire to run for office. As a mother of two, she wants to work toward a representative government body for future generations.
“I want them to live in a country under the protection of the Bill of Rights,” Jahn said. “It’s there for a reason to limit abuse of power from a government that doesn’t need to be micromanaging your life.”
Her platform encourages conservative fiscal responsibility, as well as civic responsibility and economic independence. She’s running on term limits, blended health care and simplifying the tax code. Jahn calls herself the “Zero Donate Candidate.”
Jahn would like to see the end of career politicians and proposes term limits of eight or 12 years maximum in Congress.
“And maybe even consider making the terms a little longer,” Jahn said, “because right now, we get one year of work out of them and one year of campaigning.”
A conversation with Paul Posner, a longtime official with the federal Government Accountability Office, did spark a directive for Jahn’s passion to overhaul the federal tax code.
One publicly distributed pamphlet in the late 1990s described the federal debt, and its significance to the national economy. Floored, Jahn learned that the government’s outstanding debt — more than $5 trillion at the time — was primarily due to Social Security and Medicare trust funds.
So she called Posner for more information.
“He asked me point blank, ‘Do you have children? … Do you want them to be able to afford to leave home before they’re 40? … Because if we keep going down the path we’re on, they won’t be able to,’” said Jahn, referencing what’s known as “boomerang kids.”
“People are having to move back in with their parents because they can’t get a start in life. I don’t want to leave that legacy,” Jahn said.
Jahn believes that certain things need to be addressed at the border. When asked about her views on immigration, particularly for migrants entering the United States through Mexico, she said there needs to be change.
“Not regulating that border and not accounting for these people is not humane,” Jahn said. “We’ve had people dying to say I need water for fear of being deported. If you’re going to be in this country, I think you have you should be able to participate in the rights and responsibilities and the protections under the law.”
She would like to also redefine the term “asylum” in U.S. immigration policy. She is not opposed to people entering the United States but would rather not be a haven for every “social problem,” she said.
“We all have a responsibility to build a civil society for ourselves,” she said. “No one said it was going to be easy. Who made that promise?”
Instead, she would like to see the free flow of information on settling social disputes.
“We are not diminished by sharing that information,” she said. “It’s still ours and we can still practice it right and… if you can help them come to a better place for themselves to make better lives for themselves and build better societies, then we all benefit.”
When asked what the role of government should be, she said elected officials are there to be a part of the discussion — to bring the 48th into the rulemaking conversation.
“My role is to represent and to be there to be a part of the discussion and the decision-making process and to vote,” she said. “I do not get to go there as some autocrat. That’s not the role, that’s not the job.”
She said she believes that the government should not impact personal choice, speaking on behalf of gay marriage and pro-choice.
The Founding Fathers “were trying to limit the power of government to those things that impacted the public order,” she said. “So your personal choice … does not impact the broad public order.”
Jahn was born in Oceanside, raised in Indiana, and now resides in Ramona. She’s becoming familiar with the new district lines and learning more about her would-be constituents.
“It’s a conservative district,” she said, adding, “they do believe in doing your civic responsibility… they are fiscally conservative. They think you should pay attention to how your resources are used… It’s not a bad thing in my book.”
And San Diego County’s resources need to be conserved — or at least considered with best practices in mind — according to Jahn. Particularly regarding land use and increase in urban development, she wants to ensure there is a sustainable balance.
“We’ve got internet, now, we’ve got communications, we don’t have to live in this density that we do,” she said.
She said she’s fought with developers as a citizen on new housing developments in her lifetime — a fight she said she’ll continue.
“I acknowledge that people are going to be here, they’re going to live here… there’s a lot of things to consider when you build anywhere,” she said. “There’s the environment and what it can handle. We have a lot of information about best practices for that.”
She’s also interested in exploring new methods of addressing climate change. She said there’s no “one magic answer.”
“Our climate is not singular,” she said, “it’s different everywhere you go.”
“I think we’re going to have to you know, diversify our food growing practices and not just base it on landmass,” Jahn continued.
She said she is interested in alternative farming methods, particularly those that control water distribution to the crop.
“You really have to look at water not just a free resource, but as a resource and that it needs to be conserved as well,” she said.
Overall, though, she wants voters to know that she is going to be a responsible representative.
“I’m willing to be a reasonable human being. I want to be thoughtful and responsible,” Jahn said.