Democrat Paul Singh vies for District 2 Assembly seat

Charlie Unkefer
Paul Singh

Paul Singh, a Democrat from Live Oak, is running for the District 2 State Assembly seat currently held by Republican Doug LaMalfa. Because of term limits, LaMalfa cannot run in this election. Instead, Singh faces Republican candidate Jim Nielsen.

Singh, a north county organic farmer and asbestos contractor, has had a diverse career, working as a pest control advisor, a property insurance adjuster and a hydroelectric specialist with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

His past political experience includes running for the California State Senate in 2006 against Republican incumbent Sam Aanestad and serving as chair of the CA Democratic Central Committee, Commissioner of  CA Fish and Game District 1, and vice-chair of Northern CA Political Action Committee. He has also been an active member of the CA Farm Bureau and the Freemasons. Singh was the only Democratic candidate running for the District 2 seat in the June primary. 

“We need a local economy to put people to work,” Singh asserted with vigor in a recent interview. “They’re wiping us out!” he added. By “they” Singh is referring to large global companies that he claims have outsourced labor and driven down crop prices through aggressive importing.  The end result, asserted Singh, are “fields laying fallow and people out of work.”

Singh also emphasized the importance of water to the state as a whole, a topic relevant to many Siskiyou County voters. “Why aren’t we getting paid for the water that we (in the north counties that make up State Assembly District 2) are shipping south?” The North-South relationship is of particular concern to candidate Singh. “Our taxes and resources go south, and retirement and bedroom communities go north.” 

Singh continued,  “Lack of industry due to poor infrastructure and the inability of local government to foot the bill has furthered the damage to our communities.”

He stated that, among other things, the northern counties have “the highest unemployment, highest welfare rates, and the lowest per-capita incomes in the sate,” inferring that he would like all of these things to change. Singh’s solution to these issues lies in promoting local economic growth. “We’ve outsourced our jobs, we’re eating bad food, and we need a local economy to put people back to work,” he said.

The self proclaimed “agriculturalist” and practicing organic farmer also addressed the current economic downturn, which he characterizes as being just the tip of the iceberg if people don’t act now.  “We’re in a depression not a recession!”

His priorities are rebuilding the infrastructure and the economy, water storage and flood control, and pursuing energy options that include nuclear and renewable energy resources such a biomass, wind, solar, hydro and tidal.

Singh urges voters to compare his list of campaign donors to Jim Nielsen’s.

“All of his donors are out of LA,” Singh said. He further noted that Nielsen does not even live in the district. “How is Nielsen running when he does not even live in the district?”

The issue of Nielsen’s residency in District 2 has been a key factor in this race, putting the career politician on the defensive since last spring when he filed for candidacy.  The long term resident of (out of district) Woodland admitted in an interview with Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers reporter Earl Bolender in April that, as of that date, he had never lived in Gerber but that he owned property and planned on making it his home.  He claimed to have reviewed this issue with his attorney before filing and was told that it was legal. 

A lawsuit was filed against Nielsen that, if successful, would have blocked his candidacy.  However, on May 12, Tehama County Superior Court Judge John Garaventa threw the suit out of court.

Though Nielsen has prevailed to date, the issue is an ongoing point of contention for some. For Singh, who prides himself on his connection to the land and the community, Nielsen embodies the “out of area interests” that are threatening the north counties.         

Singh’s populist message reflects the concerns held by many rural Californians (and people nationwide and worldwide) over the current economic downswing. Just short of being alarmist, Singh warns voters, “You should be concerned now. Don’t wait until it’s too late.” But Singh also added that he is hopeful, stating,  “It is time to strike a vote for freedom.”

The State Assembly is the lower house of the State Legislature, with a total of 80 members, each representing approximately 420,000 citizens. District 2 consists of Siskiyou, Modoc, Shasta, Tehama, Glenn, Colusa, Sutter, Yolo, and part of Butte County. Since a referendum passed in 1990, members of the State Assembly are limited to serving three 2-year terms.

The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 4.  Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. For voters who wish to vote by mail, Oct. 28 is the last day a “vote by mail” application can be received. Contact the Siskiyou County Clerk’s Office at 842-8084 for all voting related questions.