As U.S. Senate candidates Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina square off this evening in their first, and perhaps only, debate, California voters will be interested in one issue more than any other – jobs.
That’s to be expected considering that the Golden State has the nation’s third-highest unemployment rate, with more than 2.2 million residents out of work.
Those idle workers really don’t want to hear Democrat Boxer and Republican Fiorina spend much of their debate jawboning about same sex marriage, illegal immigration, off-shore drilling, health care and other such matters.
In fact, in a statewide survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, jobs was listed as “the most import issue facing people in California today” at least three times more than any of the aforementioned non-pocketbook issues.
So what Californians will pay closest attention to in this evening’s debate is how the competing Senate candidates would go about rebooting the moribund economy and creating jobs.
While a lone U.S. Senator cannot accomplish such an undertaking on her own, she certainly can join with likeminded Senate colleagues to promote policy and pursue legislation that stimulates economic growth and foments job creation.
Indeed, two of California largest business organizations, the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, recently endorsed Fiorina, the political neophyte, over Boxer, the three-term Senate incumbent.
The former HP CEO “has created private sector jobs,” explained Allan Zaremberg, the Chamber’s president and CEO. While Boxer “has made it increasingly difficult for manufacturers to do business,” added CMTA President Jack Stewart.
Of course, Boxer has faced accusations of championing “job-killing policies” in previous elections, yet she always has managed to return to office. But this election year could prove different.
For if California’s junior Senator fails to make a strong case, between this evening and November, that she will better represent the interests of the Golden State’s 2.2 million jobless workers than her challenger, she might very well find herself out of work come the next Congress.