Former Ohlone College District trustee Bob Brunton knows he’s a longshot in the California Assembly District 25 race. The father of two and Fremont resident was the lone Republican in his race’s primary, and he’s facing off against progressive Democrat Alex Lee this November. And the district, which has voted Democratic since redistricting in 2012, has only trended bluer in recent years.
But where most would see a foregone win for his opponent, Brunton spies his own inroad to victory…
“I’m the old guy with new ideas,” said Brunton to The Beat. “The Democrats have been in control of this state for most of the last 30 years. If anything, my opponent is a defender of the status quo.”
Brunton believes the Democrats’ approach of spending and taxing isn’t working, and he’s hoping he can help to fix it.
Brunton is focused on four priorities should he make it to Sacramento: improving education, improving mass transit, improving civil justice, and “improving the respect our state government gives to us.”
“Our state government has become very arrogant and all they ever talk about is ‘Give us more money and taxes,’” Brunton explained. “They never talk about ‘How we are going to improve our services? How are we going to be more respectful to you?’”
Brunton wants to cut taxes while making massive cuts to the state’s budget. A multi-term education trustee and longtime business owner, Brunton cites his valuable expertise in terms of “getting our money’s worth.”
“We need to cut through the waste,” Brunton said of the state’s budget. “We do a lot of stuff that we shouldn’t.”
Brunton is committed to cutting what he sees as “wasteful” spending and bureaucratic red tape to fund programs like education and improved transit.
“We spend 54% of our state’s budget on education,” Brunton said. “We’re not getting our money’s worth.”
Part of Brunton’s education reform plan includes making school funding models across the state more uniform and standardizing the size of school districts. Larger districts would be broken up while smaller districts would be combined to make larger ones. He also wants children to be able to attend schools near where their parents and guardians work.
One of Brunton’s more unique ideas is abolishing the state’s current gas tax and instead switching to a mileage tax, from which revenue will be used to improve infrastructure closer to where it is collected. He’s also thrown around the idea of pushing for a community performing arts center and a “state museum” in Milpitas.
“They’re out-of-the-box ideas,” said Brunton.
This will be Brunton’s fourth time running for Assembly. He ran for the District 25 seat in 2014, 2016, and 2018, losing to incumbent Kansen Chu all three times in the general election.
Brunton was raised in Elgin, Illinois and Fort Collins, Colorado. He moved to the Bay Area in the 1970s and has been a business owner in Fremont since the 1980s. He is a member of the Fremont Rotary.
Name: Bob Brunton
Running for: State Assembly, District 25
Relevant experience: Former Ohlone Community College District trustee, small business owner
Education: B.S., Business and finance, Colorado State University
Priorities: Education reform, mass transit, civil justice, respecting constituents
State campaign finance report: From Jan. 1 to Sept. 19, Brunton raised $3,035.40 and spent $6,890.98