SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — Everyone’s talking about the fight to get suburban women’s votes. But some suburban women, both Republican and Democrat, in one southern California congressional district say politicians aren’t focusing enough on the issues that matter to them — mental health and housing costs.
They have different view on the problems, but the agree that their views are on the back burner even as politicians attempt to attract them in the midterm elections.
Rani Janes, 48, lives in Santa Clarita, which is one of three valleys in the California’s 25th Congressional District. She takes care of her eight children and one granddaughter at home.
Janes, a Republican, said that rising housing costs and the state’s gas tax pushed her from a house to a trailer park are her major concerns.
Democrat Katie Hill, 31, is running against two-term Rep. Steve Knight for the 25th district seat. Linda Kaden, a member of the Simi Valley Republican Women’s Federation, also said the issues of lack of access to mental health facilities is a major problem.
Kaden, 69, and Carol Sherman, 73, are members of Simi Valley’s most notable attraction, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. While they lament regional closures of mental care facilities and more homeless camps, they doubt a Democrat could fix it.
“Everything the left touches they destroy,” Kaden said.
Sheila Hoffos, a 52-year-old Democrat, is concerned about the cost of health care as well as LGBT rights.
Hill has incorporated the issue of rising housing costs into her platform to rebuild the middle class. Hill was also executive director of the statewide nonprofit People Assisting the Homeless.
During a debate with Knight, Hill said there needs to be ways to help families deal with members who are mentally ill.
Janes has become active in the Republican-led “Yes on 6” campaign to repeal the state gas tax passed by the Democratic-controlled state legislature last year. She said suburban women are rarely cast in a positive light, often as having limited political perspectives.
“They think their world is very small,” Janes said, “but it’s your county, your state. It’s the whole country.”
She said she normally doesn’t talk politics. She voted for Trump in 2016, feeling a businessman would be the best president.
“It’s not always popular,” Janes said, “and change is not always popular.”
Hoffos said suburban women are often overlooked and they are often stereotyped as stay-at-home moms even though most have careers.
“There’s a great untapped resource of women who have experiences,” Hoffos said.
But Trump’s election has energized a number of Democratic women in the district.
Membership in the Simi Valley Democratic Club has increased from about 20 to 230 members since Trump was elected two years ago, club President John Casselberry said.
Most of the people getting involved are women over 40 years old, Casselberry said.
“Trump is definitely the biggest motivator,” he said.
“I do think that Trump has been an awaking factor,” she said. “It’s a huge group of people who have been mobilized because of Trump and (Supreme Court Justice Brett) Kavanaugh.”
Former nonprofit Executive Director Katie Hill is running to unseat two-term Rep. Steve Knight from California’s 25th Congressional District. (Dorothy Mills-Gregg/MNS)
Two-term Rep. Steve Knight is defending his California 25th Congressional District seat from former nonprofit Executive Director Katie Hill. (Dorothy Mills-Gregg/MNS)
Aalayah Eastmond, 17, right, survived a shooting at her high school in Parkland, Florida. She flew to California’s 25th Congressional District to tell voters her story and canvas for Katie Hill on Oct. 27. (Dorothy Mills-Gregg/MNS)
California Republicans are encouraging voters to repeal a new state gas tax that state conservatives say add costs to an already heavily taxed state. Rep. Steve Knight says mostly commuters live in his district and they will be burdened by the regressive tax. (Dorothy Mills-Gregg/MNS)
A man holds two packets of Katie Hill’s mailers in English and Spanish before going out to canvas Lancaster, California. (Dorothy Mills-Gregg/MNS)
A man has various campaign buttons supporting Republican politicians representing Santa Clarita, California. (Dorothy Mills-Gregg/MNS)