Meet New Assembly Rabble-Rouser

JAN. 12, 2011


Fed up with the increasing job-killing regulations, punitive state agencies, and the hefty taxes on California’s businesses, Shannon Grove decided to run for Assembly. She won resoundingly in her district, but as only one of 28 Republican Assembly members, many are asking, what changes can be made in the solidly Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Grove said she had never been interested in any political office in the past, nor had she ever held an elected office. “Instead, I’ve been busy for the last 17 years running and growing my business.”

Her bubble was nearly burst on day one. Hearing her fellow legislators talking excitedly about the perks they receive, the newly elected Republican Assemblywoman from Bakersfield declined the offer of a state vehicle upon her arrival at the state Capitol. “How can I accept a new car at taxpayer expense when businesses in my district are closing and people are losing their homes?” asked Grove when we met last week.

Grove made it clear that she has no plans for a career in politics. “My goal is to go back home and be Rick Grove’s wife after all of this,” Grove said as she gestured at the surroundings in her Capitol office.

What prompted the meeting was a quiet but forceful movement coming from the Central Valley Legislators. Grove said she’s a part of the Rural Valley Caucus, led by Assembly minority Leader Connie Conway, R-Visalia. “The valley issues are water, jobs, oil and wind,” explained Grove. “We have the largest wind farms in the state, as well as vast oil resources. But the state is in crisis mode over the water, jobs and energy issue, and something we Central Valley legislators are going to stay on relentlessly.”

Grove owns and operates an employment and staffing agency, specializing in providing temporary or permanent employees, with a focus on safety training, for food processors and oil companies. Her business has grown so much that she’s opening another office – in Greeley Colorado where many of her oil clients have moved.

“ Our state is driving jobs out of California with high taxes and onerous regulations.  We need to put a moratorium on new regulations like AB32 and stop job killing tax proposals like oil severance taxes.  The small business is the engine that drives our state’s economy, and the only way to bring prosperity back to California, is to bring jobs back
 to California,” said Grove. But for now, she too has to go where the jobs are.

Grove has some other groundbreaking ideas including requiring termed out legislators to wait five years before receiving state board or commission appointments. “And boards that do nothing or are no longer needed, need to be dismantled.”

But perhaps the most surprising idea coming from a newly elected member of the Assembly is that of a part-time Legislature; Grove wants to model California’s Legislature after the successful system used in the state of Texas. “Texas has a part time Legislature and meets only every two years,” said Grove with a smirk. “Think of the money the state could save!”

And Grove thinks the people of the state are ready for a part-time Legislature.” With a 9 percent approval rating, how bad does it have to get before we make changes?”

Grove is an advocate of drug-testing welfare recipients. “Admittedly, this concept makes people angry at first. But if employers can drug test employees, why can’t the state tell welfare recipients, If you are receiving a check, you need to be held accountable? Or, if you can’t get your kids to school, we’re going to dock your wages.”

“How will we ever hold welfare recipients accountable if the state provides the money that purchases the drugs?” asked Grove.

She was quite critical of how California’s welfare system has become a multi-generational cultural phenomenon, and insisted that any changes would benefit the people as well as the budget. “Entire families are on welfare, and encouraged to have children out of wedlock. While everyone needs a short term safety net, generations of welfare have become an entitlement the state can no longer afford.”

Grove is part of a faith-based program in Kern County that through the coordinated assistance of churches and government programs, takes care of people in the neighborhoods when they need help. “This is the way to help those who need short-term help,” said Grove. “True faith-based government programs are a good use of accountable resources.”

Grove’s ultimate goal is to help shrink the size and scope of government in our everyday lives. “Our state does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. We need to evaluate state programs with a strong business model.  We need to end the salaries of the unnecessary board and commissions we have in Sacramento. We need to ask ourselves the simple question: are we getting results from our investment?  Ineffective government programs should not receive more of our hard earned taxpayer dollars.”

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