Democratic candidate and Assemblyman Mike Gatto is vying to continue representing the 43rd Assembly District, which includes Montrose-La Crescenta, La Canada Flintridge, Glendale, Burbank, North Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, North Hollywood, Toluca Lake and Van Nuys.
Gatto, 37, a lifelong resident of the 43rd District, was elected to represent the district in a special election in June 2010. He was born in Franklin Hills and attended schools in Glendale, Los Feliz and Silver Lake.
Gatto graduated from UCLA with a degree in History and attended Loyola Law School at night, graduating magna cum laude.
His experience spans government and the private sector in his work as an attorney representing small businesses. He worked as District Director to a United States Congressman representing the San Fernando Valley and Burbank. Gatto has also served in the administrations of two Los Angeles Mayors.
He is running against Greg Krikorian, a Republican candidate and Glendale Unified School District Board member.
Patch interviewed Gatto via email about his campaign as part of a series of candidate profiles running ahead of the June 5 elections.
1. What are some of the important issues facing the 43rd District?
The issues facing our district are pretty similar to the issues California faces as a whole. We care about our economy, our budget, and making sure that there are good schools and enough jobs for our populace. Our area also has a lot of wonderfully engaged and thoughtful citizens who, like me, to put it simply, care that we have a government that is run well and sensibly. This means that we care about adopting common-sense reforms to repair the product of decades of mismanagement at all levels of government. Last but not least, there are many important local issues, like better noise-reduction for the 210 Freeway, and preserving open space and the unique character of our wonderful neighborhoods.
2. What would you hope to accomplish if you are elected?
I have accomplished many things in my first year and a half as our representative, and there is much more yet to do. My very first piece of legislation was an enhanced "Rainy Day Fund" -- a constitutional amendment that would force the legislature to put aside funds when times are good so that we don't need to raise taxes or cut services when times are bad.
I also worked with the Glendale Police Department to overturn a harmful law that required cities to continually round up speed limits in residential neighborhoods. The old law resulted in more speeding.
I've also introduced legislation to cut through red tape that businesses face when trying to get permits, because time is money.
I plan to continue to focus on common-sense reforms too, like making it harder for special-interest groups to amend the California Constitution and thereby lock in spending programs forever.
I've also started the process to require more transparency and to lessen the influence of runaway spending in political campaigns.
Lastly, I plan on reducing some of the unneeded and burdensome regulations in California, while still preserving the ones that guarantee clean water and clean air.
3. What makes you a qualified candidate?
Our district elected me after a series of four elections in eight months just under two years ago. I've worked hard to work with and listen to all groups in this district, and I think it shows with how many voters support me, from all walks of life and all political parties.
Furthermore, I was born and raised in our district, and I attended local schools. I have had held positions in both government and the private sector. For years, I practiced law helping small businesses resolve government issues, and I have helped several nonprofits and members of our community pro bono.
4. What Crescenta Valley issues are most important to you?
In the years ahead, I think we must come together to require that Caltrans takes additional mitigation efforts to protect those living near the 210 and 2 Freeways. Right now, I am focused on preserving the so-called Rosemont Parcel as open space. , and to make sure the Crescenta Valley is not over-developed.
5. How would you like to see the 43rd District and greater Los Angeles County in five years? How can you help contribute to this vision?
I'd like to see our area always be a great place to live. This means that government needs to focus on the basics, and do them well. We need to bring back good job opportunites and have a population that is educated or sufficiently trained to fill those jobs. We continue to attract a lot of good minds to this region. With sensible reform and thoughtful leadership, we can usher in a new period of prosperity for the next generation.