Nathan Mintz may have a soft spot for wife Judy, his "attack" Maltese and dive restaurants, but the only Republican candidate for the State Assembly's 53rd district is tough when it comes to fixing California's floundering economy.
Grabbing a café Americano at the Catalina Coffee Co., the Redondo Beach-based engineer did not hesitate to lay out his No. 1 campaign priority: bring manufacturing jobs back to the South Bay. His money enemy No. 1: the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), an initiative passed to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions.
"The intent behind it is solid," Mintz said. "We want to watch what we put in the air, in terms of emissions. Green technology is great, but there is a reason why it's not pervasive. It's just not economical. We're talking about cutting emissions by 20 percent in California by 2020. The cost of it is going to be more than a million jobs and more than $150 billion to implement it. This will cost thousands of dollars for every family."
AB 32 isn't his only target. Ever the "fiscal conservative," Mintz is eagerly looking at ways to attract the wealthy back to the city, saying that California's 9.3 percent personal income tax—plus an additional 1 percent for millionaires—is driving the rich from the state and taking businesses and capital with them. Translation: less money for the local economy.
"I talk to a lot of affluent people while campaigning," Mintz said. "One of the things that compelled me to get in the race was that I kept hearing 'revenue solution, revenue solution.' That means tax hikes, and we tried raising taxes and revenue decreased.
"It makes sense for them to move out of the state 190 days a year and basically liquidate and pay no California taxes whatsoever. Would we rather do that, or cut our tax rates in half? Because we're getting zero from those people, and if they stay put and just pay their fair share, I think revenue will increase."
However, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, households with an annual income of $22,000 or less are more likely to leave the state than richer households—and not everyone is on board with Mintz's solutions for statewide money woes.
"This is old, failed politics and a naive way of pretending to have a real agenda to solve our structural and fiscal problems in Sacramento," fellow Assembly candidate and Manhattan Beach Mayor Mitch Ward said.
The son of a commercial fisherman who grew up on "the wrong side of the tracks," Mintz spent his youth on his father's boat off of Carmel, learning much about the value of a hard-earned dollar. From there, his road to being a political candidate was a meandering path—starting first as a cadet in the Air Force Academy, then on to community college for a semester, San Jose State University for another semester and finally landing at Stanford University.
It was at Stanford that Mintz got his early brush with politics, joining the Stanford College Republicans and the Stanford Israel Alliance. After college, his political involvement was dormant until 2009, when the surge of corporate bailouts and federal government spending motivated him to action. He started the South Bay Tea Party and has been pounding Redondo Beach streets ever since, determined to get out his message of fiscal conservatism.
During his busy campaigning, he still has his wife on his mind.
"She's an absolute saint for putting up with me running for office; it takes away so much of my time. I owe her a lot," he said. "But it's the hope we can make this a better world for our future kids."