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When I was growing up, California was a well-respected state. We have seen it decline over the years into a socialism nightmare. It pains me to hear our state mockingly referred to as “the people’s republic of California” and I’ve had friends tell me I should leave “commie-fornia.”

I grew up in South Lake Tahoe, skiing and backpacking in the mountains. After leaving the Marine Corps I have been living and working in southern California. I have loved this state and all it has to offer. I don’t want to flee my home because of an impending rise of communism.

The way California politicians in Sacramento thumb their noses at the Second Amendment, acting as overlords, has incensed me for many years. Their arrogance continues to grow worse as we have seen mask mandates, businesses forcibly closed while some get preferential treatment, people arrested for going to the beach, or even paddleboarding offshore.

Now we are seeing mandates for a vaccine and even vaccine passports for us to be allowed to participate in society. With the virus variants, booster shots will be mandated. Then annual booster shots mandated. Then annual flu shots will be added to the mandates. You will have to show your medical papers to prove your annual compliance to travel, go to public events, or just to go shopping for groceries. Is this the "new normal?" This authoritarian approach provokes resistance in many who may already be hesitant to receive a vaccination. It is un-American at its core.

While Californians are increasingly pressured with the burden of creeping socialism, nothing is done by the state to stem the rampant illegal crossing of the international border. On the contrary, local and state government have taken official positions of not assisting federal agencies who are trying to deter people from being illegally present in America. The whole country looks on in shock as California declares itself a sanctuary to this criminal behavior, all while taking extreme authoritarian measures against the residents of California in the name of battling a pandemic. Who is this supposed to be helping?

City streets and public spaces are being inundated with homeless encampments while law enforcement is hindered from preventing this. California residents are fearful to walk on some city sidewalks and are no longer able to enjoy some public parks and beaches. The lax attitude exhibited by some cities allowing this to occur incentivizes the behavior while offering no assistance to the mentally ill and the destitute elderly who truly need help.

Gavin Newsom is not the only person responsible for California’s decline but he certainly is part of the problem. His recall indicates how Californians are sick and tired of this spiral into the abyss of socialism.

Politics has never been an aspiration of mine. However, given this opportunity to be a voice for so many people who share my irritation with what is happening, many of whom are actually afraid to express their views, I am entering as a candidate for replacing Governor Gavin Newsom. Not having the resources to have my name printed on the ballot, I am entering as a write-in candidate. That’s correct, you will have to actually write my name, Rick Bennett, on the ballot space for write-in.

I am from South Lake Tahoe California. I spent eleven years in the US Marine Corps both active duty and reserve where I left as a Sergeant. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Cal State Los Angeles and have been working in the aerospace industry for fourteen years. Four of those years were as a contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan after which, I returned to Cal State Los Angeles for a master’s degree in Computer Science.

If you have read my statement and share my views regarding the state of California, write my name, Rick Bennett, on your ballot to replace Gavin Newsom as California Governor.