Caroline Anderson

Assemblyman David Hadley running for reelection

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State Assemblymember David Hadley outside his campaign headquarters in Torrance. Photo by Caroline Anderson

State Assemblymember David Hadley outside his campaign headquarters in Torrance. Photo by Caroline Anderson

When Manhattan Beach resident David Hadley ran for the State Assembly in 2014, it was his first time running for political office. He was up against the incumbent, Democrat Al Muratsuchi from Torrance. His victory, although only by a few percentage points, came as somewhat of a surprise since he is a Republican and the majority of the 66th district is registered Democrat.

This time around, he’s the incumbent on the ballot for the June 7 primary. His opponents are Muratsuchi and Mike Madrigal, a Democrat from Torrance.

Hadley said he’s remained independent, not beholden to any political ideology other than that of the South Bay.

“The reason I won in 2014, and believe I will win again, is that what I represent is a real South Bay coalition,” he said. “You see it in the yard signs driving around the South Bay.”

As a member of the minority party, he’s struggled at times to get legislation passed. He did, however, author three bills which have become law: two school-related, and one relating to government transparency.

AB 306 gives the children of military families more freedom to choose their school district. Although it applies statewide, the inspiration was the Air Force Base in El Segundo.  

“Not only is it the right thing for military service families and their kids, but if you represent the South Bay, whatever party you’re from, the state legislature’s support of the Air Force Base is critical to the health of the South Bay,” he said.

In addition to being an employer in the region, the base has attracted other employers in the civilian air space companies that surround it.

Because the housing for personnel is in Fort Macarthur in San Pedro, service members’ children are automatically enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which Hadley said “has statistically not done nearly as good a job as local school districts have done.”

Compared to other regions with bases in the country, Los Angeles is expensive, and the Pentagon has considered shuttering it, Hadley said.

The other school-related bill amended the state education code to stop schools from expunging “credible complaints” of egregious misconduct from an employee’s personnel file unless a hearing found them to be false or unsubstantiated.

Hadley also authored a bill that requires state agencies to make audits available on their websites.

He said he exercised his influence during the crafting of SB350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act. After the requirement to reduce up to 50 percent of petroleum used in cars and trucks by 2030 was dropped, he voted in favor of the bill, which was passed.

“The average car in California is 10 years old,” he said. “It’s not mathematically possible to reduce petroleum usage by that amount without massive economic damage and people needing to eat the value of their cars.”

Only one other Republican voted for the bill, he said.

“I have tried to be a legislator willing to say no to bad politics, but also willing to work with people to improve legislation,” he said.

He ticked off other bills he voted for, such as increasing the age necessary to smoke to 21 and the “right to die” law. He also supported legislation passed in the wake of the Refugio oil spill, which resulted in tar balls washing up on the shore of the South Bay, such as requiring the State Fire Marshal to inspect pipelines once a year and forcing oil companies to use automatic shutoff valves.

As for another high profile Republican on the ballot, Hadley said he won’t vote for Donald Trump in the primary, but is holding off on his choice for president in the general election.

“I’m going to make a decision and announcement in July so people know well ahead of the general election,” he said.

Once the state legislature is out for the summer, he can take time to reflect.

“It’s one thing I want to think through,” he said. “It’s an important issue. By then both parties will have their nominees.” ER

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