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The Davis Enterprise
Tuesday, Nov. 23, 1999
Article by David Weinshilboum/Enterprise staff writer
Photo by Alison Portello
 Davis man runs for Natural Law 

WILSON: Pledges to give young people a reason to vote

Rob Wilson hopes to change the current political landscape with his 8th Assembly District candidacy. 

Tired of what he calls the rhetoric of both major political parties, the 31-year-old Davis resident will run on behalf of the fledgling Natural Law Party. 

``The Republican and Democratic parties have lost touch with a big fraction of the American people,'' he says. 

Wilson will battle two fellow Davisites: Democratic incumbent Helen Thomson and Republican challenger John Munn. The 8th District encompasses most of Yolo and Solano counties and part of Sacramento County. 

Most college-age students feel distanced from the political process and don't have impetus to vote, given the two-party system, Wilson says. Backing his point with numbers, he says the average age of campaign contributors for both major parties is 62. 

The youthful Wilson, who recently defended his Ph.D. thesis (successfully), says he wants to give younger students disenchanted with the political process a reason to vote. A third party -- like Natural Law, created in 1992 -- does just that, he says. 

``James Madison once said `The purpose of an election is to have a national conversation.' Right now, I feel like we're having more of a lecture than a conversation,'' Wilson says. 

The Davisite has obtained a master's and a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering at UC Davis after moving to the area four years ago. 

Wilson says he hopes his candidacy will generate a better awareness of several political issues. 

Overall, Wilson says the current government takes a ``crisis management approach,'' addressing problems after they become a catastrophe. 

By taking a proactive approach to issues, America could reduce spending and improve society, he says. 

Referring to the current health care predicament as a ``disease-care system,'' Wilson says costs could be drastically reduced if prevention programs were better implemented. Similarly, instead of warehousing criminals, proactive education is cheaper than putting them behind bars. 

Campaign finance reform is another issue Wilson wants to broach. 

``Public policy is being decided by big company interests. If we can get special-interest money out of politics, I feel we'd have a more democratic America,'' Wilson says. 

If elected, he would push for the elimination of PACs (political action committees, where many contributions come from) as well as soft money and the public sponsorship of election campaigns. 

Wilson vows he will accept no PAC or soft monies for his campaign. 

``Not accepting PAC money ... that gives me a very powerful platform for the 8th Assembly District because I'm special-interest-free,'' he says. 

He also called for labeling and more careful investigation of genetically engineered foods. 

``I'm for forward thinking and technology, but we've got to be safe about these things,'' he says. 

Wilson says he will hold forums and gatherings throughout the region to discuss issues. 

Because only three candidates have declared their intention to run for the 8th Assembly District, and all three represent different parties, the March 7 primary election is a moot point. Thomson, Munn and Wilson all will advance to the November 2000 general election. 

Tuesday, Nov. 23, 1999_ 


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