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Luis Alejo, Robert Bernosky cite jobs, education among priorities

Saturday October 16, 2010

The Salinas Californian, October 16, 2010

Luis Alejo, Robert Bernosky cite jobs, education among priorities

In the 28th District Assembly race, both candidates tout their experience and commitment to creating jobs, reforming education and addressing water supplies.

Democrat Luis Alejo and Republican Robert Bernosky are vying for the seat being vacated by former Salinas Mayor Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, who is running for state Senate in the 12th District.

Both candidates claim to have the background and experience to hit the ground running if elected.

Caballero ran unopposed in 2008. Two years prior, she won a first term after defeating Watsonville City Councilwoman Ana Ventura Phares in the Democratic primary and Hollister's Ignacio Velasquez, the lone Republican to file for the seat.

The 28th district includes the Salinas Valley and North Monterey County, San Benito County, Watsonville and South Santa Clara County.

'I Have A Plan'

For Bernosky, a financial officer from Hollister, the four key issues facing the region are job creation in the private sector, a need to shrink government, undertaking education reform and tackling water supply issues — specifically for the agriculture industry.

While creating jobs in the private sector would be a top priority, he said, providing quality education for children is equally important.

Bernosky cited his work in helping to turn around the North County Joint Union School District as an example of what works in education — collaboration.

Shortly after becoming a trustee, he said, he and the board changed the way the district ran — using a business approach that views parents and students as customers. Bernosky said the district treated providing quality education as its product.

Bernosky said the district saw results after the first year of collaborations between administrators, teachers, parents and the board.

"It's very important for people to know that I have a plan," he said. "I'm out there saying what the problem is, and I'm out there saying what I intend to do about it — and to the best of my knowledge, my opponent is not."

Tireless Efforts

Alejo, a former high school teacher, said he previously worked as a legislative aide for AssemblymanManny Diaz, D-San Jose, in the state Capitol. He said he drafted and staffed a number of bills and resolutions during the 2002 legislative session.

Alejo said the issues he plans to address, if elected, include reducing crime by supporting prevention and intervention programs for youth and providing better health-care opportunities for families and workers.

As for education, he said, it is important to tackle the high school dropout rate so more students will pursuecollege degrees.

Alejo said he and his hundreds of volunteers have been tirelessly visiting communities within the district, going door-to-door to spread his message.

Nonetheless, he said, he is not taking anything for granted — continuing to campaign up until voters head to the polls Nov. 2.

"We're going into the general elections even stronger than in the primary," Alejo said. "I'm very confident we're going to prevail."