There are 435 congressional districts across the United States each representing around 700,000 people.
District 24 covers Santa Barbara County, about half of San Luis Obispo County, and a portion of Ventura County.
There are four candidates on the ballot for the June 7 California Primary Election: incumbent Democratic Congressman Salud Carbajal, Independents Michele Weslander Quaid and Jeff Frankenfield, and Republican Dr. Brad Allen.
"I’m running again because I feel I’ve been an effective representative for the Central Coast," Rep. Salud Carbajal said. "We’ve gotten a lot done. We've passed a number of very important pieces of legislation: the American Rescue Plan to help us get through the pandemic and this COVID impact.”
"It is a calling that I feel to serve my country at this time. I took the oath of office 20 years ago, and this is a continuation of that oath," Independent candidate Michele Weslander Quaid said. "We need people who honor the oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and protect our constitutionally-protected liberties."
“There is so much to do and so much pain out there that I feel like we need to do better as a government and just have some empathy and listen to people’s stories,” Independent candidate Jeff Frankenfield said.
"I’m not a politician because of the fact that I bring a different set — I bring real-life skills, real-life experience, I bring problem-solving after years of research and years of running divisions and departments in surgery and working with people and starting whole projects from scratch," Republican candidate Dr. Brad Allen said.
Rep. Carbajal was first elected as Congressman for District 24 in 2016 and has been reelected ever since.
He is a Marine veteran and former Santa Barbara County Supervisor.
The top issues Carbajal plans to work on are implementing renewable energy sources, protecting the coastline to address climate change, and stabilizing the economy.
“We need to do everything possible to alleviate those situations whether it is housing costs, whether it is healthcare costs, whether it is prices at the gas pump,” Carbajal said. “We need to make sure we are doing everything to bring those costs down for everyday working families.”
Michele Weslander Quaid previously worked for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. She is also a certified professional coach and independent consultant.
The top issues she plans to advocate for are limiting the federal government’s involvement in individuals’ decisions, excellence in education, and a secure border.
“We can’t be failing our children. California, in particular, spends a lot on education, but we are ranked really low,” Weslander Quaid said. “Being able to raise that bar to make sure that every child receives the education that gives them the strong foundation that they can build upon in their life and career and part of that is preserving parental rights so that they can choose what is best for their children."
Jeff Frankenfield is a former Marine who now works in sales in the telecommunications industry.
He also served as a chaplain for the Santa Barbara Police Department and is currently a volunteer football coach.
The top issues Frankenfield wants to address are inflation, education reform, and a strong military.
"What do the people want? And based upon those needs, and even if they’re different than mine, I want to understand what the bulk of the problems are in the district that people are having and I want to be able to find out how I can help, ask them how I can help and then take that as their representative to the federal level," Frankenfield said.
Dr. Brad Allen is a pediatric heart surgeon with more than 40 years of experience. He is also a medical researcher and small business owner.
Dr. Allen previously ran for Congress in 2014. The top issues he wants to address are inflation, crime, and education.
"Inflation is caused by government’s monetary and fiscal policy and the Democrats because they are big government and like to spend, have caused this massive amount of inflation, and we need to get that under control," Dr. Allen said.
We asked each candidate why people should vote for them.
“I believe people will see that I have been a good listener, I have been very accessible, that we provided exemplary constituent service, and that I have been a fighter for the Central Coast to bring home resources,” Carbajal said.
“As I like to say, it is time to send an independent woman to Congress. I am not loyal to a party, I am loyal to America, its citizens and the people of the Central Coast, and the U.S. Constitution that protects our values," Weslander Quaid said.
“I’ve proven myself to care about this community and this district. I’ve spent a lot of my time outside of my normal work putting in a lot of sweat equity into these people that I love,” Frankenfield said.
“I’m going to bring a problem-solving attitude because that is what I’ve done my entire life to try to help people. I’m going to take a look at the consequences, all things politicians don’t do,” Dr. Allen said.
The two candidates with the most votes in this primary election will run against each other in November.