By Shareen Strauss
Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers
MOUNT SHASTA – Audrey Denney, a Chico Democrat who is challenging Republican incumbent Doug LaMalfa for California’s District 1 seat in Congress, campaigned in Mount Shasta on Tuesday, Sept. 25.
Talk drew quiet and was replaced by applause as Denney walked into the crowded room at Expershare Workspaces on N. Mt. Shasta Blvd.
Standing on a stepstool, she asked rhetorically how many have been a victim of sexual assault and discussed the importance of social work, saying that there is at least one victim in every crowd.
Denney said she has a strong humans rights background.
“This campaign, for me, the very core of my being, is a woman who believes in the inherent worth, dignity and rights of all humans. And this campaign, for me, is about living that core belief and working to create a more just world, a more just community and more inclusive communities.”
She cited Tehama County as an example of a place where that work is being done, pointing to the social services being offered by “Empower Tehama” to make the community a safer place.
She spoke about protecting the elderly, Medicaid, Social Security, wildfires, and “business owners worried about hiring qualified or trained staff – for all of these worries there are agencies and people that are working on helping solve these problems. All we need is congressional support to implement solutions.
And it will be my honor to be that congressional support for you,” Denney said. “We need congressional support for these programs. I want to make real people’s lives a little better. Everyone has a right of freedom from fear.”
Denney sees her campaign as part of an effort to take back “ownership of our democracy and engaging in the process. And, to protect our democracy and the norms for future generations.”
She described her summer campaign of knocking on doors of disinterested voters. “We asked them what they are worried about and we listened because they matter. This is how we re-engage people with our democracy. We set aside our judgement for long enough to recognize in each other our common humanity, that is when we connect.”
Denney has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Agricultural Science and teaches at Chico University.
She said she is for social services in education and said while 9 percent of white men won’t graduate from high school in District 1, the percentage is 40 percent for Latin American men.
District 1 in northeastern California includes the counties of Siskiyou, Shasta, Modoc, Tehama, Lassen, Butte, Plumas, and Sierra, most of Nevada County and parts of Glenn and Placer counties.
Denney talked about her recent experience of having to go out of state for emergency surgery to have a tumor removed from her ovaries due to the shortage of doctors and time restraints. She said she believes that women should not have to wait until such a dramatic moment before getting the medical help they need and says her first priority will be supporting and building on the Affordable Care Act. She is advocating for every person to have access to affordable medical care.
Denney said she read the book “Fascism” by Madeleine Albright in preparation for her debates with LaMalfa on foreign policy.
When asked, Denney said she supports the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and that she will be working on solutions with other representatives for comprehensive immigration reform when she gets in congress.
She said she has raised $750,000 of her $800,000 campaign budget by public donations only and has pledged not to take any corporate PAC money. “They are not a person,” she said. “All our money is coming from people like you, mostly all in our District.”
Tim Stearns who co-hosted the Meet & Greet for Denney, said, “I think she is the most exciting candidate in decades. She has a positive spirit emphasizing bringing people together and finding common ground. She fits well in our District because of her agriculture background. She has a lot of common sense and is a good communicator.”
John Kirkwood who has a home in both Mt. Shasta and Dunsmuir, said, “She’s a breath of fresh air. She has the energy, drive and commitment in a politically complex world.”
After Denney’s talk, Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Richard Dinges said, “She didn’t avoid any questions and answered all of the questions and if she didn’t know, she said so.”
David Hicks of North State Mediation described Denney as “a people loving, unselfish candidate.”
Alice Rogers, a Mt. Shasta campaign volunteer who helped start the Women’s Huddle in Mt. Shasta after the Women’s March and is involved in the Democratic Central Committee, said she helped organize the event to “get people fired up and interested in Audrey.”
For more information or to help with Denney’s campaign, go to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or contact Alice Rogers at (530) 925-9516 or (530) 592-0756 or write to PO Box 5174, Chico, CA. 95927