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District 2 race: Maturity, business know-how stressed by McNeal

By From page A1 | August 13, 2014

Claire McNeal

What you see is what you get is pretty much the message Claire McNeal wants to send as a candidate for the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, District 2.

In an interview at the VIllage Life/Mountain Democrat office on July 28, McNeal stressed her maturity and business experience and said she already has a team in place who can help her in the job as supervisor.

Running for public office for the first time, nonetheless McNeal said she comes with 20 years of experience helping others get elected, including Congressmen John Doolittle and Tom McClintock as well as Tim Leslie who served in both the California State Assembly and State Senate.

I’m a live-or-die Republican, she said, “who is pro-business and pro-Constitution.”

Owner with her husband of a light manufacturing business in Santa Clara County, she and her family live on a 160-acre ranch in the south county.

McNeal said she decided to self-fund her own campaign as her way of not owing anybody anything. “It gives me more control,” she said, laughing that her children chided her for spending their inheritance on a political campaign.

She is also independent minded, saying, “I want people to know that I will always say what I think and will vote in the best interest of the district. Voters will always be able to count on me to do the right thing.”

Asked about different issues facing the county, McNeal said there is a need for more infrastructure development in the south county, particularly better roads and utilities, with the greatest need being a reliable water supply.

To foster economic development, McNeal discussed making the county more business friendly by reducing some business fees and eliminating unnecessary inspections. She is also in favor of reducing the TIM (traffic impact mitigation) fees so building in the county is less expensive.

When asked her opinion on the different housing developments proposed for the county, she said she is a supporter of both the San Stino and Marble Valley housing developments as well as the updated General Plan. She is also opposed to the growth control initiatives that will be on the ballot in November. Instead she favors the initiative proposed by Region Builders with her only objection to it being that Measure Y should be allowed to expire in 2018 rather than extended through 2025.

Accusing people in the Shingle Springs area of having “drank the Kool-Aid,” McNeal said some of them have over-reacted to proposed residential developments in their area. There is a lot of scare mongering about the San Stino development, she said, but the county will never be paved over due to topography and other limits and any housing additions would take place over many years.

“People need to understand the importance of having tax dollars continuing to be generated. We are dying on the vine,” she added.

Instead McNeal favored such things as putting in a motel or two in wine country and adding light manufacturing rather than tourism since manufacturing would generate a more secure tax base. “Tourism should be the icing on the cake rather than the skeleton,” she said.

Turning to county government, McNeal reiterated a point she made at the July 23 candidate forum that county government is devolving into little fiefdoms rather than working together collectively.

Promising to be a strong presence on the Board of Supervisors if elected, she said the board needed someone who won’t be swayed by outside influences or groups devoted to single issues.

“We need to make the board stronger and I have the maturity and business background to do the job,” she said.

Dawn Hodson


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