May 21, 2019

Cox Seeks Upset Win for Governor on Nov. 6

John Cox

During a recent appearance at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) in Encino ahead of the Nov. 6 election, Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox was aspirational about California’s future while expressing his affinity for the policies of President Donald Trump. 

“There’s the California that we have and the California we ought to have,” Cox said on Aug. 21 at VBS. “What President Trump has done for the country, we need do that right here in California.”

Cox, 63, a Republican businessman whose endorsement by Trump this past summer helped him finish in second place in the June primary behind his Democratic challenger, outgoing Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, is hoping to achieve an upset against the favored Newsom and succeed termed-out Governor Jerry Brown.

Addressing an overflow crowd in the VBS sanctuary, Cox framed the choice between himself and Newsom as a choice between “change and the status quo.” 

He expressed opposition to the California gas tax and his support for Proposition 6 on the statewide ballot, which, if passed, would repeal new taxes on gas and diesel fuel imposed by lawmakers.

“California spends twice what Texas does to build a mile of road — let that sink in for a second,” Cox said. “Yet, instead of reforming Caltrans and building roads efficiently, they decided to stick their hand in our pocket and raise the gas tax, a regressive tax that hurts the working poor, that hurts the working people who need the help the most.

“We are going to repeal that gas tax, everybody,” he said.

Discussing the lack of affordable housing in California, Cox said the best way to tackle the crisis is to build. 

“We are also going to build houses. We are under-housed in this state by 3 million homes. We are going to build homes. But you know what we are going to do? We are going to build truly affordable housing,” he said. “My opponent wants to float more bonds and hand out more subsidies, basically institutionalizing high-cost housing.”

Taking the opportunity to tell the gathering about himself, Cox said his mother was a public school teacher in Chicago. She was Jewish, though he was not raised Jewish, and instilled in him the importance of helping others.

“She always talked to me about the spirit of public service because the essence of our lives here on earth is to help other people, and my mom lived it,” he said. “She raised me to care about what happens in our community.

“Her experiences there [in a public school in the south side of Chicago] really seared in me a desire to do something about political corruption because she had to deal with the worst high school principals she could ever imagine,” he added. “You know why? Because they were chosen mainly because they were friends of the [politicians].”

“I’m not a celebrity. I’m not a career politician like my opponent. I’m a working guy, like all of you.” — John Cox

Cox grew up a “liberal Democrat,” he said, imitating President John F. Kennedy’s famous words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  

However, with what he saw as the leftward shift of the Democratic Party, he grew disillusioned with the Democrats — as he suggested Kennedy would have been if alive today. “He’d be a Conservative Republican today, by the way,” Cox said.

While Cox has no political experience, he turned that into a selling point. 

“I’m not a celebrity. I’m not a career politician like my opponent,” he said. “I’m a working guy, like all of you.”

Echoing Trump’s position on immigration, he called for an “end to the sanctuary state.” 

“We need to secure our border,” he said. “This should not be controversial. The first role of government is to protect the people of their state.” 

The Jewish Republican Alliance organized Cox’s appearance at VBS, with the group’s co-founders Bruce Karasik and Mitch Silberman, and Republican columnist Bruce Bialosky welcoming Cox to the bimah. 

Dressed in suit and tie, with an energetic demeanor, Cox called for a return of California’s former glory, when the state was a leader in business, education, affordability and quality of life.

“California had the best business climate, the best education, the best job opportunities the best roads, the best schools, plentiful water, wonderfully affordable gas and electricity, all the wonderful qualities of life you want to have. What do we have now? We lead the nation in poverty—that is sad, isn’t it, ladies and gentleman? The golden state leads the nation in poverty,” he said.

“You know, ladies and gentleman, let me tell you it doesn’t have to be this way,” he said. “This is going to be a pivotal year. We are going to turn around this state. Help is on the way.”

This report of Cox’s appearance at Valley Beth Shalom was based on a YouTube video posted after the event by the Jewish Republican Alliance.