Ken Calvert and Will Rollins.

In November, voters in the newly drawn 41st Congressional District—a tossup district which now includes Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells and La Quinta—will choose between two very different candidates, with very different politics.

Ken Calvert, the incumbent in California’s 42nd Congressional District, has been redistricted into the new 41st District. A 1975 graduate of San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in economics, he has been in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993.

According to his House of Representatives website biography, Calvert has been involved organizations including the Corona Chamber of Commerce, the Corona Rotary and the Corona-Norco Family YMCA. Today, Calvert, 69, is sometimes referred to as the dean of the California Republican delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As of May 18, 2022, according to the Open Secrets website, Calvert had raised $1,858,585 for his campaign, and had spent $1,054,601.

Democratic candidate Will Rollins, according to his campaign website, is “a formal federal prosecutor who focused on counterterrorism and counterintelligence cases in Southern California.” A graduate of Dartmouth University and Columbia Law School, Rollins, 37—who is openly gay—served as an assistant U.S. attorney prior to joining the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section of the National Security Division, where he prosecuted a number of individuals, including a reported QAnon follower for an attack at the Port of Los Angeles, and some of the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2001.

As of May 18, 2022, according to Open Secrets, Rollins had raised $1,020,429 for his campaign, and had spent $574,001.

The Independent recently reached out to both Rollins and Calvert to ask them a slate of six identical questions. Here are their responses, which have been edited only for clarity and editorial style; in several cases, we’ve added some fact-checking to the candidates’ statements as well.


Ken Calvert

Ken Calvert.

If you’re re-elected, what are your personal top three legislative priorities? What specific results are you working toward in each case?

Obviously, the biggest issue I hear about from people daily, if not hourly, is inflation—the price of gasoline and the price of food. So that, we need to deal with.

Of course, from my perspective, we need to deal with energy, which is really the base source of where inflation comes from. Everything comes from energy, whether you’re driving a diesel truck to deliver groceries, or delivering the mail, or doing anything you’re going to be doing. Energy prices have been a main driver of this inflation we’re having. The best way to deal with it is to boost production. I don’t understand why the president doesn’t move in that direction, because pulling oil out of the reserve is not the answer. We produce about 20 million barrels a day. That’s obviously a lot of oil, but we don’t have the refining capability because of regulatory restrictions on refineries. And, of course, investors don’t want to put money into the industry now, because they think that the president has pretty much said they want to put them out of business. So, we’ve got to change direction and get these energy companies back to investing in base energy to bring these prices down. That would help with food, because, obviously, natural gas makes fertilizer, and fertilizer prices are at an all-time high. They’ve gone up over 30%, and in some cases higher than that.

(A Bloomberg article from May 26, 2022, reported, “The June spot price in Tampa, Fla., for the nitrogen fertilizer ammonia settled at $1,000 per metric ton, a drop of 30% from May’s $1,425 per metric ton. Even with the drop, however, prices for ammonia are still 87% higher than a year ago, and supply chain issues continue to wreak havoc on global markets.”)

A lot of crops are not being planted this year because of farmers’ fear of future market volatility, or the prices going up enormously. So, it’s double whammy—the price of gas and the price of food. That, I think, is the No. 1 issue.

Obviously, this issue on the border is a huge issue. We had almost 250,000 people cross the border last month. That’s a record high. It seems like it goes up every month, and we can’t absorb this amount of people. We’ve got to get operational control of the border.

In Riverside County alone, by the way, we lose one person a day to fentanyl poisoning. These guys are bringing it across this open border. Primarily, the base chemical for fentanyl comes from China. China could stop that tomorrow if they wanted to, but obviously, they don’t. It’s being sent to the two major cartels in Mexico. They send it across, and they’re making enormous amounts of money. Last year, 105,000 people died of opioid deaths in America.

(According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, “Provisional data indicate there were an estimated 107,622 drug overdose deaths in the United States during 2021. … The new data show overdose deaths involving opioids increased from an estimated 70,029 in 2020 to 80,816 in 2021.”)

That’s tragic in every way you can think of, and that has to stop. It’s because of a number of reasons, porous borders being a big part of it. I think China’s (engaged in) almost a form of esoteric warfare, dumping these chemicals that they know are going to be distributed into the United States by these cartels. It’s a major problem.

Crime is probably the third issue. I think you can divide crime into a number of things. You know, the homeless problem (results) unfortunately in a lot of minor crimes, but nevertheless, it creates an atmosphere of crime. Whether it’s these smash-and-grabs, or car-related theft that we’re experiencing more and more of, or petty crimes on the street, or even worse, where they’re using weapons to steal and (commit) burglaries, I think it’s unfortunate. I think California’s Prop 47 was the wrong move, and that Californians may rethink that. We need to get control of this lawlessness that we have in our society right now.

(According to the Public Policy Institute of California, “Passed by voters in November 2014, Proposition 47 brought broad and significant changes to California’s criminal justice system. Undertaken in the wake of public safety realignment in 2011, Proposition 47 reduced the penalties for certain lower-level drug and property offenses and represented a further step in prioritizing prison and jail space for higher-level offenders.”)

So, I’d say those are probably the three top issues that I hear about. Of course, there are a lot of local issues like transportation. It continues to be an issue in the Inland Empire, certainly here on the west end. I know that in the desert, Interstate 10 is pretty much the one way in and out. You’ve got the 74 and some other alternatives, but if you get an accident on the I-10 in Banning, and you’re trying to get to L.A., you’re in for a four-hour experience. In the summer time, that can be a safety issue, too, if a car breaks down. This secondary road issue is one thing that I have a lot experience on. I delivered to west Riverside County, and I tend to help also in the desert to bring (federal) transportation dollars. Obviously, the I-10 is an interstate highway, so it gets federal dollars, and we continue to expand and do safety improvements. Hopefully, there’s a secondary road they’d like to put in to help relieve (the pressure) on the I-10 in case something happens. So, that’s a big issue.

The Salton Sea is going to be a big issue. I’ve been dealing with that for years and understand it probably better than most. It’s both a short-term and long-term problem, and we’re going to have to deal with it.

If you’re re-elected, would you work to pass federal laws codifying and supporting a woman’s right to obtain an abortion; same sex marriage; and the right to access contraceptive means as an adult?

I hear about (abortion) from both sides, and it’s obviously an emotional issue for both sides, which it has been for a long time. I think it’s important for everybody to understand that the (Supreme) Court’s ruling doesn’t mean that there’s suddenly a federal prohibition on abortion. Abortion policy, like many policies we deal with in this country, is done through the democratic process at the state level. Of course, in California, abortion will still be legal, and we’re probably the most liberal state in this country regarding abortion.

I don’t support a national ban on abortion. Like many Americans, I’m opposed to late-term, third-trimester abortions that are done for various reasons. I think that’s wrong. But, also, I think that women should be assured that if they become pregnant due to rape or incest, or their health is in jeopardy, they should have access to abortion services. Outside of that, I think the states should establish their own laws, so they can better reflect the will of the voters. Of course, different states will have different laws about how they’re going to approach abortion. California will continue probably to have a very liberal path on abortion. That’s a difficult issue.

As far as gay marriage, I think that’s been resolved. The courts resolved it, and it’s the law of the land, so I don’t support going back and revisiting that. Gay marriage is now legal, and I’m fine with that. And people should have access to contraceptives. I think people are referring to Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion, and I think he’s looking in a strict way at the Constitution, but there’s no way that we’re going to revisit people’s rights to access contraceptives. That’s not going to happen. The same thing with same sex marriage. That’s established, and that’s not going to be revisited.

What is your position on how to revamp and settle U.S. immigration policy, including how to address the Dreamers’ unique situation?

First, concerning border security, I’ve been involved in the border wall, or fence, for a long time, including the triple fence over in Tijuana. We had a real problem in the Smuggler’s Gulch area. I helped obtain the money to build that triple fence, which had a tremendous effect on stopping folks from coming across that border. And we were making great progress on finishing that fence. We accomplished about 500 additional miles, and we were doing about a mile a day until President Biden came in and stopped it all. But the contracts (for the project) had already been set. And there was a significant penalty; I think it was 30% to stop the contracts, and the fencing materials had already been acquired. It’s still stacked up there along the southern border.

(The Independent’s research cannot confirm a 30% penalty stemming from the existing construction contract cancellations. However, on Jan. 21, 2021, Bloomberg reported: “Contractors are entitled to settlement payments for the money they have already spent on costs like workers and materials, and for the expenses of withdrawing from the project. … One estimate from the Army Corps reviewed by The Washington Post found that the cost savings would far outweigh those expenses: Stopping work on the Army Corps wall construction contracts on day one may save the Biden administration $2.6 billion.”)

Now you’ve got these gaps with people just crossing the border without any problems, and we’ve picked up at least 36 people who were on the terrorist watchlist. So, that’s what we’ve picked up, but we don’t know who’s come across that border who we didn’t pick up. That’s a problem. These guys aren’t coming over to work on farms. It’s a real security problem.

I’ve already mentioned the drug issue. This fentanyl and the new synthetic drugs are killing tens of thousands of people. There are dangerous drugs coming across that border, and these two major cartels are making a tremendous amount of money. I read in a report that between human smuggling, drugs and the rest of it, those two cartels make about $60 billion a year. Obviously, that’s all in illegal activity. One of the reasons that people come here (to the United States), of course, is to work, and I wrote the original E-Verify law. E-Verify is a method when you file your I-9 forms for an employer, you write down your Social Security number, your name and the rest of it. In the past, there wasn’t a way to verify if it was a real Social Security number. So, we started it out as a basic pilot program in a number of states, and now it’s used throughout the United States. Many states mandate it. Over 50% of all employees go through the E-Verify system, which didn’t exist until I wrote the law. If we mandated that, which I think we should do, then it would remove (an incentive) for people coming here illegally to obtain work.

People who are here legally to work under a visa program, I support, particularly for the farming industry. We do need to improve it—the H2A visa program—because it’s not working very well. We need to know who’s here. The problem now is that we have millions of people coming here, and we don’t know who they are, or for what purpose they’re here, and whether or not they’re denying work to people who are legally here.

As far as DACA is concerned, I’ve supported (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). If there was a standalone DACA vote, it would pass easily. The problem is that the Democrats have been using DACA to load up an immigration bill with things that don’t have a lot of support. You now, I think that we could come to an agreement. We almost had an agreement about four years ago, which unfortunately didn’t pass, but I supported it. It would have resolved 80-90% of the issue. But I think there’s still an opportunity. Probably the best time to do it is in the first part of a Congress, when the emotional level is down, and we can get it done. Quite frankly, DACA is the least controversial part of immigration change. Most Republicans and most Democrats support legalization for those who came here as young people through no fault of their own, and (would) give them a pathway to citizenship.

Do you support any limitations on gun purchases in general; a ban on assault or automatic weapons; and/or restrictions on a citizen’s ability to obtain particular types of ammunition or magazines?

People know that I’ve been a supporter of the Second Amendment. Obviously, we have a problem in this country. Like with what happened in Highland Park (Ill.), it seems that, for some reason, there’s a consistent pattern (among) young, white and angry 18-to-25-year-olds out there. In California, we have very strict gun laws, but we don’t enforce them. The recent shooting of two (police) officers in El Monte is a perfect example of that. The district attorney in Los Angeles, George Gascon, didn’t do his job. If he’d prosecuted that offender for his prior gun crime, that shooting wouldn’t have happened. So, if we enforce the gun laws that we have on the books today, many of these (incidents) wouldn’t occur.

The so-called “red flag laws,” which basically take away due process from law-abiding citizens, have to be written properly, and I don’t think this last bill was. (HR 7910, the Protecting Our Kids Act, passed the House on June 8, and is currently in the hands of the Senate; Calvert voted against it.) You’ve got to have it written right so it will work. For instance, with this person in Highland Park, hell, there were all kinds of red flags for that guy. They knew he had all kinds of past issues that people were aware of, and yet, he still was able to acquire a gun, even though weapons had been taken away from him prior to that. So, you have these laws, but if they’re not enforced, they don’t work.

I own guns, and I’ve been around guns my whole life. People talk about high-performance rifles. You know, a hunting gun is a high-performance rifle, whether it’s a .30-06 or whatever. We have hundreds of millions of these weapons around the country, and we’re not going to confiscate them all. When I was a kid, we never had these kind of things happen. Something happened to our culture over the last 50 years. We could probably have a debate over that. When I was a kid, I had a shotgun in the back of my Jeep with a couple of cases of shotgun shells, and we’d go up to the foothills after school, and we’d go quail hunting, and everybody knew. Now, can you imagine that today? Obviously, you’d be arrested. The culture has changed. Things have changed. We have a lot of mental illness, a lot of drug abuse, and I think a lot of people watch these violent videos or games. Unfortunately, I think all of this leads to these tragic situations. We have to deal with it. More than just controlling guns, we’ve got to get involved with these people early on, identify them as a society, and deal with it.

What is your position on protecting our region’s air and water quality, as well as U.S. federal government commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030?

I’ve been involved in clean-air issues for a long time. The DERA (Diesel Emissions Reduction Act) program is one of the programs that I helped put together. We take old diesel trucks off the road and replace them with new clean diesels, which have 90% less emissions, and especially particulate emissions. Back when I was chairman of the (House) Energy and the Environment Committee, I was involved in getting sulfur out of gasoline, for instance. That way, you don’t poison the catalytic converters on automobiles, and that cleaned up a lot of the problems on air pollution. A lot of the low-hanging fruit on air pollution has been picked. When you get into these ozone issues, and background ozone, it gets more difficult, as we’ve done a significant job. I remember when I was a kid playing football in the early ’70s, I couldn’t even see across the field; literally, the smog was that bad. Today, it’s improved significantly, even though our population has grown significantly.

So, we’ve done things right. We were the first state to really regulate air, and a lot of Republicans were involved in that. Jerry Lewis, a former congressman from our region, wrote a big part of the Clean Air Act in California, which created the South Coast Air Quality (Management) District. Bob Presley (a former California State senator from 1975-1994) and a lot of these guys have historically been involved in clean-air issues, and did a tremendous job—and we continue to make improvements.

But you have to make economic decisions and pragmatic decisions along with that. Like, we cleaned up these diesel engines by 90%, and we continue to do better and better with the technology, but at the same time, we want to have an economy that continues to grow, so you have to make that balance. As electric vehicles come to the forefront, that’s going to be great, but you’ve got to have baseload power to power them.

This whole thing about greenhouse gas, it’s an important issue. We’ve done more to bring down carbon emissions than any country in the world. As a matter of fact, our carbon emissions have come down significantly in the last number of years—but we don’t want to destroy the economy at the outset. So you have to have reasonable targets to get to where we need to be without destroying the economy. You’ve got to have some flexibility when you’re doing that. That’s something that I’m going to continue to deal with.

What is your favorite free-time activity?

Gardening, I guess, is probably my favorite thing to do. I own a little bit of land out in Corona, where I have some specimen roses, and I like dealing with those, believe it or not. I have a feeling of accomplishment after working on them, which we all need from time to time.


Will Rollins

Will Rollins.

If you’re elected, what are your personal top three legislative priorities? What specific results are you working toward in each case?

Right now, the three for me are, first, to tackle inflation and the corruption that’s contributing to it. The second thing I want to do is provide immediate tax relief for working families in Riverside County, where the median household income is $70,000 a year, but our marginal tax rate in California is 41%. (This is the same marginal tax rate shown by Talent.com.)

The third thing is to modernize infrastructure in Riverside County, including in the Coachella Valley.

To expand on each of those, the first thing is inflation, and what I mean by corruption is contributing: We’ve got to end price gouging. Shell just posted a record $9 billion in quarterly profit a couple of months ago, and they have record profit margins (running) at about 20%. (According to macrotrends.net, Shell’s latest gross profit margin was 25.6 percent, and the net profit margin was 7.3 percent.)

They’re telling shareholders on earnings calls that they aren’t going to expand production, because they’re seeing record profits. What I think we need to do is strengthen anti-trust rules to make our markets competitive, so that these corporations would actually have to compete for our business at the pump, and would be forced to restart production in the wells that they already have.

I’m running against somebody who just voted against a bill designed to stop oil corporations from price-gouging. The reason I see corruption as being tied to this is because he gets hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, and Business Insider has called him one of the most corrupt members of Congress.

(A Business Insider article from Sept. 9, 2009, cited the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as making this claim; the publication itself did not.)

I think the same theory can be applied to big agri-business, where we’re seeing huge spikes in the cost of groceries, big pharma and even baby formula. If you look at all those industries, the power of monopolies and market concentration in each of those industries is contributing to rising costs for all of us in Riverside County. We need someone to represent us in Congress who is actually going to take these corporations on and fight for people who are living paycheck to paycheck, like so many of us in Riverside County. I think part of that also includes strengthening our campaign-finance rules, so that our representatives aren’t simply in the pockets of these massive corporations. I would support a ban on insider trading so that members like Calvert cannot trade on information that they learn about the industries or corporations during their work on Capitol Hill. I would support a lifetime ban on members of Congress going out after they leave (Congress) and lobbying, because I think this is part of a cycle that has led to working families getting screwed for the last three decades by people like Ken Calvert, who has served the interests of these massive corporations over (those of) the constituents that they’re supposed to represent. So, that’s the first legislative priority for me.

The second, which is related, is immediate tax relief for the working families in Riverside County, where, again, our median income is $70,000 a year, and the marginal tax rate for people making that is 41%. We’ve got to get those rates down for working families, and we can do that by making billionaires who pay an average of 8% per year in their income (level) pay their fair share.

When the top 400 families in the United States control more than 60% of all wealth, the system is broken. Some of them, like Jeff Bezos, have paid literally zero dollars in federal income taxes twice in the last decade. Meanwhile, teachers, nurses, firefighters and cops are paying 40% in California. I think this is a product of members of Congress who are in the pockets of ultra-wealthy donors, and who actually refuse to deliver for their own constituents.

The example I always give is the Trump tax cuts. Wyoming was the No. 1 state to benefit from the Trump tax cuts, and Californians actually got screwed, because people like Ken Calvert made it harder for us to deduct our state and local income taxes, and harder to deduct our mortgage interest, even as home prices in Riverside County are reaching all-time highs. He did that because the people who fund his campaigns are ultra-wealthy people who don’t actually live in the county. So, that’s why those folks are seeing such low tax rates, while working families are getting stuck with the burden of our entire country’s taxes, paying a 41% combined marginal rate on a $70,000. So, I really think that the Democratic Party needs to be a very big tent party right now and form a coalition of people who are getting absolutely screwed by our tax system—a system that’s set up to reward ultra-high-net-worth people at the expense of those of us who have to work for a living and live on our salaries. There have been pretty widely reported stories about people like Bezos and Musk, and the low tax rates they paid twice in the last decade. These are two of the richest human beings who ever existed in human history, and they literally each paid nothing in federal income tax twice. To me, that is so fundamentally wrong and unfair to the rest of America. They’re taking advantage of laws that we, the people, have enacted, so we, the people, need to enact different laws. That’s how I look at it. Of course, they should take advantage of the tax laws that are on the books, but we are the ones who enacted those laws. So now we’ve got to send different people to Congress who recognize that and are willing to close loopholes that allow something that absurd to occur.

The third priority I mentioned is about modernizing infrastructure in Riverside County, including the Coachella Valley. For the Coachella Valley, in particular, I think that rail service is something that will bring a huge economic benefit, and will require a significant investment from the federal government. It can bring both new economic opportunity to the district as well as reduce traffic, because if you’ve ever sat in traffic on Interstate 10, the 15 or the 215, you’ve seen firsthand the dire need for increased infrastructure in both the Inland Empire and Coachella Valley. And again, I’m running against a guy who voted against infrastructure funding that ultimately is going to go to projects like the I-15 corridor. Some $12 million will go to widen Bundy Canyon Road in Menifee, and millions of dollars to other infrastructure projects across the county. We, as residents of Riverside County, regardless of party, have to be electing people who are going to put the infrastructure needs of Coachella Valley and Riverside County ahead of partisan bickering, and (the question of) whether a particular bill is going to make President Biden look good or bad. This is money that’s designed to benefit our communities, where we live and work every single day, and Calvert voted against that funding. So I want to do the opposite of that.

If you’re elected, would you work to pass federal laws codifying and supporting a woman’s right to obtain an abortion; same sex marriage; and the right to access contraceptive means as an adult?

Yes. I would support codifying every single one of those rights into federal law, and I’d like to make one quick point about my opponent’s views on these issues. I’m running against someone who voted to allow child predators to sue in order to prevent victims from getting an abortion.

(Rollins is referring to an April 27, 2005, roll call vote to send HR 748, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, back to committee. As Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., put it, “this bill allows a father to sue the person who accompanied the young woman or, if he did not receive the required notice, to sue the doctor who provided the abortion even if he himself, the father, that is, caused the pregnancy by rape or incest.” Republican proponents of the act said the scenario laid out by Nadler “simply is not going to happen.” The roll call vote failed, with 245 representatives, including Calvert, noting no, to 183 voting yes. The House subsequently passed the act and sent it to the U.S. Senate.)

I’m running against somebody who voted to prohibit same-sex marriage and (LGBTQ+) service in the military. And I’m running against somebody who just joined the lawsuit to overturn Roe, which (Supreme Court Justice) Clarence Thomas himself said in his concurring opinion now puts rights like access to contraception on the line in November. So I hope that voters hold Calvert responsible, and do not let him avoid answering questions about his votes. We cannot be represented by someone who holds these kinds of backward views on each of those issues.

What is your position on how to revamp and settle U.S. immigration policy, including how to address the Dreamers’ unique situation?

I believe that our laws can ensure both that our borders are secure, and that immigrants are treated humanely. I worked in counter-terrorism, so I understand the importance of having a secure border. My opponent has been in office since I was 8 years old, for three decades, and our immigration system is still broken. Both parties have had power (in that time), so I think it’s time for new ideas and leadership and meaningful compromise.

Now, what does that look like? No. 1, I think we can provide temporary status and work permits for people who want to come to the United States, help address our labor shortage and pay taxes. I’ve talked to a lot of small-business owners in our county who have said specifically that they need access to more labor, and they want people to have legal status and contribute to the economy in an above-board way so that they are safe when they come here. Also, our businesses (need to be) able to expand and grow in the way that they want to while we’re dealing with a labor shortage.

No. 2, we’ve got to provide a path to citizenship for kids who are brought here by their parents, and grew up in the United States, because those kids are just as American as anybody else. In a lot of cases, they came here when they were infants, had no choice in the matter, grew up here, went to school here, and they deserve to be protected by our laws. Unlike my opponent, I don’t believe that it’s right to deport children who were brought here without any say in the matter and have spent the last 15 to 20 years in the United States.

(Calvert voted against the DREAM Act in 2010, with his office putting out a press release saying Calvert was voting to put “American and legal resident students first.”)

No. 3, we’ve got to invest more money in our immigration courts, and in modern technology that will actually secure the border instead of a 14th century wall that doesn’t do anything about the people who simply overstay their visas in the United States, which represents a majority of people who are here illegally. So I think by investing more money in our overworked immigration courts, we can ensure that people are treated humanely, that they have their due process protected, and they have the right to be heard when making their asylum claims. Also, we (can) ensure that people who are dangerous or pose a risk to the United States are screened. This will require additional investment from our government, but I think it’s part of the long-term compromise that a vast majority of Americans would support.

Do you support any limitations on gun purchases in general; a ban on assault or automatic weapons; and/or restrictions on a citizen’s ability to obtain particular types of ammunition or magazines?

There’s no question that we need universal violent-criminal-history checks. Gun homicides have increased in Riverside County, yet my opponent is opposed to those kinds of universal background checks. I could not disagree with him more about that. I don’t believe that felons should be able to get their hands on guns to terrorize our communities. Also, I support a federal “red flag law,” because I don’t think a deranged 18-year-old who threatens to shoot up a school should be permitted to walk into a Walmart and buy an AR-15 the next day. But, again, my opponent just voted against the bipartisan gun safety legislation that was passed last month which incentivized “red flag laws” (to be passed by state legislatures). So that’s a radical position that is completely out of touch with most voters in Riverside County. Also, I support permits for concealed weapons, because I don’t believe that people with criminal records or violent backgrounds should be allowed to carry handguns into restaurants, movie theaters and supermarkets with no questions asked. This, too, is a policy position where my opponent is completely on the other side of it. I think voters in our county should be aware of that contrast.

What is your position on protecting our region’s air and water quality, as well as U.S. federal government commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030?

When it comes to water, I think we need more federal funding in the eastern Coachella Valley, similar to the $1.5 million grant to the Coachella Valley Water District that Congressman Rail Ruiz and (U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development) Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small just announced recently. Those grants will help replace water pipelines and booster stations, and make sure that water continues to be potable. Also, working with the EPA to go to parts of the valley that have issues with an ongoing effort to (obtain) safe drinking water—which is something that should never happen in the United States—Congressman Ruiz has been a great leader on this (issue). I know he brought EPA officials to the Oasis Mobile Home Park, so I’ll try to be an ally with him in that and be a representative for the entire valley. I think the two of us have the potential to bring a lot of federal resources to our communities.

Climate change is an existential threat and one of the greatest challenges of our generation. I am committed to advancing an ambitious evidence- and science-based agenda to achieve net-zero emissions, leveraging every tool available for a swift transition to a more sustainable and cleaner planet and economy.

Riverside County has the opportunity to develop thousands of small, clean-tech businesses that will have a foothold in expanding the green energy economy and the United States’ standing in clean energy. With the right tax incentives to encourage small, clean-tech businesses to start in the Inland Empire—and the assistance of the federal government in major infrastructure projects across the County—we will be able to grow our economy, improve public transit and protect the planet all at the same time.

Two looming environmental issues impacting our region involve zoning and transportation laws, and the cleanup and excavation of the Salton Sea. The region is growing rapidly, and I will fight for policies that promote smart growth and don’t leave at-risk communities behind, and ensure that we direct federal resources to the most vulnerable communities affected by climate change in our district.

What is your favorite free-time activity?

I think hiking around the valley is one of my favorites, (but) how much hiking am I able to do these days? The best part is that there are so many different hikes you can do. I really like the Cactus to Clouds trail near Palm Springs. It’s got a lot of elevation gain, so it’s good.

Kevin Fitzgerald

Kevin Fitzgerald is the staff writer for the Coachella Valley Independent. He started as a freelance writer for the Independent in June 2013, more than a year after he and his wife moved from Los Angeles...

6 replies on “Candidate Q&A: Republican Rep. Ken Calvert Is Challenged by Democrat Will Rollins in California’s New 41st Congressional District”

  1. Thank you for this article. I was disappointed neither candidate spoke about voting rights and the assault on democracy. Right now my #1 concern.

  2. Calvert’s comments on the Gay Marriage and Abortion issues are exactly the kinds of statements that Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett made about Abortion in order to get on the Supreme Court. “It’s settled law”, “the matter’s been decided” and all that. But he never comitted to a position supporting those rights (he just sounded like he did), or ruled out appointing judges who agree with Clarence Thomas’s position. That way he could later do the opposite of how he’s trying to appear now and say, technically, he didn’t lie.

  3. No need to have this guy in office for anything. He just doesn’t see anything about people’s “RIGHTs’..Maybe he should have a gay son and a young daughter who is pregnant. Then I am sure he would have a different thought. Go with Will….please

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