District voters would be best served elevating Melendez to the Senate to serve as their representative.

A no-nonsense approach

Melendez, who is entering her eighth year representing the Assembly’s 67th District in western Riverside County, is a Navy veteran, having served 10 years that included deployments during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

A mother of five — whose husband, Nico, also is a Navy veteran who continues to serve in a naval reserve unit — Melendez was upfront and no-nonsense during the Editorial Board panel session. Her bottom line in answers to most of our questions: Keeping California’s fiscal house in order.

“I ran because, as a mother of five trying to raise kids in this state and making sure they get a good education, making sure they have opportunities, I saw a state that was going down a path that I didn’t think would be fruitful for my family and many families in California,” she told the board, decrying “shameful, embarrassing” homelessness and poverty in California despite its “5th largest global economy” status. A penchant to raise taxes and spend on items outside of what should be the Legislature’s priorities is hurting all Golden State residents, she said.

“When I say that I’m running to improve the lives of every Californian, I’m talking about those people. I’m talking about the people who are in failing schools and the state not doing something to make sure it’s improved,” she said. “I’m talking about the people who can’t afford to pay their electricity bill, or their water bill or put gas in their car, all because we’ve put policies in place that make it more expensive to live.”

The candidates’ responses to questions in three areas became the focus of the Editorial Board’s deliberations. Melendez demonstrated knowledge of how things really work in the Legislature and city governance.

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