Mar 18, 2010 10:44 PM by Monica Quintero
Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman spent time in Santa Barbara on Thursday, campaigning to be California's next governor. In the republican primary, she has a comfortable lead in the polls against state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner. On the Democrat side, State Attorney General Jerry Brown is up for the job. A new Field Poll shows Whitman is running neck and neck with Brown. In a hypothetical match-up with Brown, Whitman is up 46 percent to 43 percent, which is within the poll's margin of error.
California's budget crisis was the hot topic for Whitman as she brought her campaign to Santa Barbara. Whitman said, "I've outlined a plan to cut $15 billion worth of spending." She said her plan includes cutting the number of state employees. She said the state payroll has increased by 40,000 from just five years ago.
The former eBay CEO also said welfare reform is also needed. "You probably know we have 12 percent of the population in America and 32 percent of the welfare cases," said Whitman. At her campaign event, Whitman passed out her policy agenda. She said it's 48 pages detailing how she will govern California.
Whitman also responded to critics who say the billionaire republican is trying to buy her way into the governor's office. She said, "I don't think you can buy elections. My job is to get my message out."
As for her stance on offshore oil drilling along the coast, Whitman said, "If we can be assured that we can drill safely offshore with new technology, then I'm willing to look at that. But right now, I'm a no."
We asked Whitman given the state's troubles under Governor Schwarzenegger, why should California choose another political outsider. She said they have tremendously different backgrounds and stressed her decades of experience in business.
Whitman also said education is at the top of her agenda. As part of her plan to turn that around, she wants to put more money in the classroom and increase the number of charter schools. Whitman also said regulation is strangling businesses of all sizes. She suggested putting a moratorium on new business regulations.
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