Assemblyman Travis Allen, one of the Assembly’s most outspoken Republicans, is giving up his seat in the Legislature to run for California governor.
Here are five things you should know about Allen:
1. He’s a money man. Allen, a Chula Vista native and graduate of California State University, Long Beach, worked for a large investment firm before opening his own financial planning company. He was elected to the state Assembly in 2012, which means he could have served in the lower chamber until 2024. Allen married Arielle Brady in 2016. They have two children, including a new baby named Caroline Allen.
2. He throws bombs. Allen, of Huntington Beach, was widely criticized for writing an opinion piece for the Washington Examiner under the headline “California Democrats legalize child prostitution.” The Sacramento Bee and several other outlets determined that it is false to say the law “legalizes” child prostitution in California because those soliciting the sex and those arranging the clients can still be charged with crimes.
Under the law, officers who encounter minors engaged in prostitution must report the circumstances to the county child welfare agency as abuse or neglect. Allen has stood his ground, drawing more interest nationally for his large social media followings.
3. Sometimes he’s bipartisan. Allen teamed up with Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, when Newport Beach wanted to remove 60 fire pits from city beaches.
They carried legislation allowing beach bonfires and preventing air quality officials from enforcing restrictions. Allen, an avid surfer, had a bill to create a specialized license plate benefiting the Coastal Conservancy in its efforts to protect beach access and another measure to crack down on what he calls “scam charities” that receive tax-exempt status.
4. He voted for Donald Trump, but backed Democrats before. Allen may be the only major Republican in the governor’s race to vote for President Donald Trump (GOP rival John Cox voted for libertarian Gary Johnson), but he donated to Democrats in the past.
Records show that Allen’s contributions include $250 to Friends of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010 and $500 in 2011 to U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, another Democrat. Allen also gave $250 to the Democratic State Central Committee and $100 to Gavin Newsom for California lieutenant governor in 2010. Newsom, a liberal Democrat, is now the leading candidate for governor. Allen called the contributions a mistake and noted that he’s given far more to Republican candidates and causes.
5. Allen supports the death penalty. That makes him the only one in the race to back the law.
But like Cox, Allen is adamantly opposed to the high-speed rail train being constructed in the Central Valley and detests tax increases like the recent hike on transportation fuels, which he wants repealed. He also wants to lower income taxes and reverse many of the criminal justice reforms approved by Democrats and voters that lessened penalties for felons and shifted the responsibility of certain criminal offenders from the state to counties. He believes that too many people are leaving California because of its problems.
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This item was written by Christopher Cadelago when he was with The Bee Capitol Bureau. He now works at POLITICO in Washington.