SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The Republican challenger for the Central Coast's 24th Congressional District seat Justin Fareed made a campaign stop in Santa Maria to talk up his support for federal, state and local law enforcement.
Fareed chose the banks of the Santa Maria River for his press briefing Tuesday morning where he was supported by federal and county law enforcement representatives along with elected officials from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County.
Fareed talked about his support for federal, state and local enforcement as part of his campaign platform for the November mid-term election where he's challenging Democrat incumbent Salud Carbajal.
"This specifically is an issue where voters on the Central Coast are going to have a clear choice between my opponent and myself," Fareed said. "The issues of crime and safety are not political issues, they are real-life issues. I want it to be clear that I will be a fighter for our Central Coast families, I will stand with our local law enforcement, I'll back the badge, I'll make sure our communities are as safe as possible."
Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-24th District) offered a rebuttal. The congressman's office issued the following statement:
"These are nothing more than false, partisan attacks. Congressman Carbajal has worked closely with law enforcement to crack down on MS-13 and stop drug smuggling and human trafficking. That’s why he’s earned the strong support of the largest statewide police officer’s organization, representing more than 70,000 officers. Congressman Carbajal previously served as a City of Santa Barbara Police and Fire Commissioner and proudly served our country in the Marine Corps Reserves. His long track record of working to keep our communities safe is a direct contrast to the empty partisan rhetoric of his opponent."
Others speaking on behalf of candidate Justin Fareed included San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson, Deputy Neil Gowing with the Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff's Association and Terence Shigg with the U.S. Border Patrol National Council Local 1613.
"This has been a challenging time in California, we've never experienced this much change in the criminal justice system as we're experiencing now," said SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson. "Having representatives in local government, state and federal government is key to preventing bad law but also bringing together the community in order to solve some of these issues because they are not going away."
"He's got a strong understanding of putting public safety first, he's ready to work at the federal level to make sure that is happening to help make our communities safer," said Deputy Neil Gowing with the Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff's Association. "We look forward to working with him once he gets into office to get common sense legislation passed at the federal level and hopefully at the state level to make our jobs easier and to help us combat crime and make our communities safer."
"We need somebody who is going to look at what the problem is and go to the experts and people that are dealing with it on the ground and figure out what needs to be done," said U.S. Border Patrol union spokesperson Terence Shigg. "We're trying to protect those communities because border security is national security, where we can stop those things happening that are coming across the border we can stop them from getting into the community because it doesn't just stop at the border."
Fareed highlighted the 2015 murder of Santa Maria resident Marilyn Pharis at the hands of an undocumented, illegal immigrant as an example of the need for federal, state and local law enforcement to work together.
"We need to make sure that our federal law enforcement can work with our local law enforcement so that we can target criminal conduct and those that are carrying those out, we need to get to the bottom of this," Fareed said.