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Profile: Assembly candidate Andy Pugno

Andy Pugno drafted the California law that prohibits gay marriage, but his Assembly campaign website does not mention Proposition 8.

Pugno, a Republican and the attorney for Prop. 8 supporters, is competing in a tense race with Democrat Richard Pan for the District 5 Assembly seat. Read a profile of Pan here. 

In an interview on Friday, Pugno said he’s not running on the issue of same-sex marriage. Rather, the Folsom resident said he is focusing on the issues of state spending, job creation and local governments’ relationship with the state.

The Sacramento Press asked Pugno if he’s trying to distance himself from Prop. 8 by not mentioning it on his campaign website.

“I’m not trying to distance myself at all,” he said. “Prop. 8 is an issue that has already been decided, and now ultimately rests with the courts. And so, it is not one of the top issues the Assembly is facing. And it is not the purpose of my campaign.”

While he said Prop. 8 is not central to his campaign, he added that his views on Prop. 8 are in line with the views of his district.

Pugno, 37, said he wants to spur job creation in the state by lessening government regulation that hampers employers. He said he wants to “get government out of the way of an economic recovery.”

He criticized wage and hour laws and environmental rules, saying that they hamper businesses. When companies consider whether to buy new equipment, “they can have almost no confidence that the government won’t tell them to replace it next year at great expense,” he said.

Pugno supports Prop. 23, which would overturn the state’s climate change law, AB 32, until the state reaches an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent or lower for four consecutive quarters.

He said it “makes sense to wait until we have a healthier economy to be imposing new mandates on the California businesses.” That could take a long time – California’s unemployment rate was at 12.4 percent in August, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In addition to job creation, another one of Pugno’s priorities is limiting state spending. California’s spending is “out-of-control,” he said, adding that the state needs to “get real” about its revenue projections.

Pugno also wants local governments to have more decision-making power than the state. Decisions are “better made when they are made locally,” he said. He contended that the public has more direct access to local leaders than to state leaders.

The contentiousness in the fight for the District 5 seat is apparent in the two campaigns’ views of Pan’s television ads. 

The television ads make comments about Pugno’s views on abortion that Pugno said were “outright lies.” Pugno said the claims used in the ad were not true. He does, however, acknowledge his pro-life position on abortion.

For example, an ad claims that Pugno “spent years working to outlaw” abortion, according to the text of the ad. While he takes a pro-life position, he said he did not work on the abortion issue. The ad also claims that he’s opposed to stem-cell research. He told The Sacramento Press that he is not opposed to stem-cell research. 

“I am 100 percent pro-life and I’ve always been very clear about that,” he said. “But the other claims in the ad are false and are designed to portray me as some kind of an extremist.” 

Photo courtesy of Pugno's campaign.

Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. 

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