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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
County

Fresno CountyCandidate for Supervisor, Supervisorial District 5

Photo of Lauren Stephens

Lauren Stephens

Businessperson
3,949 votes (9.51%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Prioritize county spending, permanently reduce Supervisor and administrator salaries and pass campaign finance reform for Supervisor races (the only office which allows unlimited donations). It has gotten completely out of control.
  • In my district, gain control of our natural resources such as water and give immediate attention to the serious forest issues we are facing, which has cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
  • Fresno County has so much potential, so we must work to improve the economy through increased tourism and reduced business regulations. A better economy means more revenue.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Business Owner
Consultant, Conservative Campaign Consulting (2014–current)
Social Media Director - Web Services, KingdomX (1999–current)
Professional Power of Attorney - Father's Rights Advocate, Lauren Stephens (2004–2014)

Education

Hillsdale College - Online American Heritage (current)
Hillsdale College - Online Public Policy from a Constitutional Viewpoint (2015)
WITC Public Administration and US Government (2012)
NOAA - National Weather Service Certificate, Trained Skywarn (R) Weather Spotter (2011)

Community Activities

Executive Director, Sierra Nevada Patriots (2016–current)
Founder , Transparency Project (2014–current)

Biography

Lauren Stephens has been a Local and National Advocate for Families and Conservative Causes Since 1994.

Lauren first got her start in political activism right here in Fresno, in 1994, and has worked on behalf of families and other causes ever since. Her family ties to Fresno County go all the way back to the 1800’s, when her family first came here. Like Lauren, they are business owners and entrepreneurs as well. They are hard working, salt of the earth people who have built a lot of what you see here in town and around the state.

Lauren has two sons, Lazaro – a recent graduate of Sanger High School, and Eric - who attends a special needs school in Fresno. Most of her large extended family is right here in the district (Prather and Clovis), which makes it all the more important to her.

Her oldest son was chosen by the American Legion (out of thousands of students) to represent Sanger High at Boys State in Sacramento, and now works at a local TV Station. Her youngest son is determined to join the military, one way or another, when he gets out of school!

A few years ago, Lauren got married and relocated. When she returned three years ago to the home her family built back in 1978 (at Temperance and Tulare) she was unpleasantly surprised to find that now, there is a freeway practically going through her front yard and a lot of the surrounding land has been rezoned from residential rural and agriculture to make way for fitting as many houses as possible into very little space.

The once rural area in District 5 is now under siege by politicians from adjacent cities who want to make their donors happy. In fact, this was one of the largest factors in Lauren’s decision to run for County Supervisor.

Fighting on behalf of others is nothing new for Lauren, who ran for office when she lived in Wisconsin and served on her city’s Board of Ethics, where she was appointed by the City Council.

While most other candidates only seem to focus on the needs of businesses (because that’s where the money is, of course!), in addition to that, Lauren is also taking up the cause of families and children who have been the most affected by the policies of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors – especially the county’s mental health system – which is in IMMEDIATE need of attention.

Lauren was also a Professional Power of Attorney (Family Rights Advocate) for more than ten years – speaking on behalf of fathers and their children in family court and working with various government agencies to make sure that children from broken homes had equal access to their fathers, which is still not the standard in custody and child support cases.

Lauren is proud to be a DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), and feels blessed to have several family members – and many friends, who have served our country. Because of this, one of the most important issues of her campaign is focused on Veterans. Honoring our vets takes a lot more than a photo opp, and she is determined to do whatever she can to make sure our returning Vets have the resources they need and the respect they deserve.

Lauren is about half way towards getting her degree in Public Administration and History. When her student debt started to rise, she decided to spend four years paying it off, and then finishing up her degree.

As a mom, and as a woman, Lauren says that being fiscally conservative isn’t just a campaign slogan, it is a way of life. Due to her ability and willingness to live within her means, she is able to lead the fight to permanently slash County Supervisor salaries – because being a public servant should be a calling, not a career.

So far, Lauren is the only candidate running for any local office who has been willing to lead by example and promise taxpayers that she means what she says when it comes to saving money and running for office for the right reasons. Her fight to permanently lower the pay of politicians is not a gimmick. It is the real deal.

Lastly, Lauren is a business owner. Her business specializes in public relations, social media, and websites for businesses, non-profits and organizations. She plans to use her knowledge to help modernize the online services that Fresno County provides, in order to help save the county a lot of money, and provide a better customer service experience for residents and businesses.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Beverly Raine – Director of Communications, Kings View Behavioral Health
  • Carla Flores – Instructor, National Rifle Association and Owner, Armed Angels
  • Michael and Linda Hovsepian – Owners, Aloha Aircraft

Individuals (2)

  • Clarence Bratton – Co-Founder, Bratton Masonry
  • Austin Reed – Executive Producer, KAIL TV, Fresno

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Lauren's political philosophy is that first and foremost, public service should be a calling, not a career. She feels it is critically important that we get rid of the career politicians who have been ruling Fresno County for decades. Their ties to special interests and big money donors makes it a fact that the only people who get representation from politicians, are the ones who have the means to pay for it. 

Position Papers

Proposition 47

Summary

The Lies About Prop 47 Need To Stop

Time and time again I have heard various politicians, lawmakers and candidates misinform the public about Prop 47. If you listen to any of them, you would believe that Prop 47 is the end of the world and that it has led to huge increases in all kinds of crime.

This is a problem… because – it isn’t true.

Just the other day, I was at a candidate endorsement meeting and one of the candidates actually said that there was a big increase in graffiti… because of Prop 47.

That is strange because… Prop 47 has nothing to do with graffiti.

I have heard popular leaders, here in Fresno, repeatedly tell the public that because of Prop 47, criminals are getting off the hook for all kinds of crimes. And crime is completely out of control. And of course…. they need tons of money to solve this horrific problem.

That’s odd because… Prop 47 doesn’t make ANY crime not a crime. A crime is still a crime.

 

I would suggest that if crime is running rampant in your city, maybe you should consider stepping down and allowing someone more capable take care of the problem. That’s how it works everywhere else. Why doesn’t it work that way here?

The fact of the matter is, Prop 47 has nothing to do with any of this stuff. And they know it. They are using it as a scapegoat. They are trying to scare people. It is about money. You know it, I know it and they know it.

And the worst thing about all this propaganda? Their very own words are directly leading to more criminal activity, because it is those people who are making criminals THINK that they are going to get off the hook for something. Yes, every time a criminal (who doesn’t know the law) hears this nonsense, they get the idea they can go out and do something and get by with it. Instead of truly being tough on crime, what we have are people who are all over the media spreading hysteria and enticing criminals to do bad things.

I am calling for this to stop.

Yes, I am aware that Fresno County has a lot of crime. When has Fresno County NOT had a lot of crime? Even the City of Fresno found out the hard way that one of their own was engaging in drug dealing and all sorts of criminal activity – right under the nose of the Chief of Police!

Did anyone blame that on Prop 47?

Click here to read the text of the law.

And here are some facts:

Prior to Prop 47, the state of California was under a federal court order to reduce prison populations. Without Prop 47, the really bad guys would have gotten out of jail instead of the *small time criminals*. Now THAT would have been a disaster! 

Prior to Prop 47, California taxpayers were spending tens of thousands of dollars a year on EACH person who was convicted of things such as writing a bad check.

Prior to Prop 47, non-violent crimes would result in long term prison sentences, which separated working parents from their families. Not only was that in itself a bad thing BUT the cost to taxpayers to subsidize these families in welfare and food stamps costs millions of dollars a year.

Prop 47 is estimated to save taxpayers HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of dollars a YEAR!

It also results in net state criminal justice system savings that could reach the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually. These savings would be spent on school truancy and dropout prevention, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and victim services. THAT IS THE LAW!

It also means net county criminal justice system savings that could reach several hundred million dollars A YEAR! These are win/win items for everyone, and especially for Conservatives!

Now, are you ready for the really big news?

Prop 47 does not apply to dangerous, repeat offenders.

It does not apply to sex offenders.

It does not apply to murderers or other violent offenders. Ever.

There are VERY few crimes that are covered under Prop 47.

The ONLY crimes that Prop 47 covers are:

1.) GRAND THEFT

BEFORE Prop 47, it was property worth up to $950.00.

BEFORE Prop 47, it could be a misdemeanor or a felony.

NOW Grand Theft of $950.00 or less is charged as a Petty Theft – a misdemeanor.

NOW Anything over $950.00 is still Grand Theft – usually a felony, but not always.

2.) SHOPLIFTING

BEFORE Prop 47, shoplifting up to $950.00 was usually a misdemeanor – sometimes it could have been a felony because sometimes, it could have also resulted in a burglary charge.

NOW, all shoplifting $950.00 or less is ALWAYS a misdemeanor and can never be considered a burglary. Not much of a change really. Either way it is still a crime.

3.) RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY

BEFORE Prop 47, receiving stolen property of ANY dollar amount could have been either a felony or a misdemeanor.

NOW, receiving stolen property of $950.00 or less is always a misdemeanor and over $950.00 will be just like before, a felony or a misdemeanor. Either way it is still a crime.

4.) WRITING BAD CHECKS

BEFORE Prop 47, writing a bad check was generally a misdemeanor. However, if the check was worth more than $450.00, or if the offender had previously committed a crime related to forgery, it was a wobbler crime. Meaning it could have gone either way.

NOW, it is a misdemeanor to write a bad check unless the check is worth more than $950 or the offender had previously committed three forgery related crimes, in which case it would remain a wobbler crime. Either way it is still a crime.

5.) CHECK FORGERY

BEFORE Prop 47, it was a wobbler crime to forge a check of any amount.

NOW, forging a check worth $950 or less would always be a misdemeanor, except that it would remain a wobbler crime if
the offender commits identity theft in connection with forging a check. Either way it is still a crime.

6.) DRUG POSSESSION

BEFORE Prop 47, possession (not sales) for (small) personal use of most illegal drugs was a misdemeanor, a wobbler, or a felony – depending on the amount and type of drug.

NOW, possession of a small amount of illegal drugs is always a misdemeanor. Either way it is still a crime.

Again, this is for personal use possession only, and not sales.

By the way, it was Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 2010, who reduced the penalty for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana from a felony to an infraction (like a speeding ticket). It was not Prop 47.

Prop 47 gives people in jail and in prison the ability to APPLY for resentencing and to have their records cleared of felonies – only for the crimes covered under Prop 47. Those applications are not automatically approved and not everyone will be approved – especially if they are violent criminals.

THAT is Prop 47. Does it sound to you like Fresno County is falling apart because of Prop 47?

NO!

Additionally, you need to know that ALL crimes are STILL crimes. And misdemeanors can STILL result in up to one year in jail.

There is nothing in Prop 47 that says a crime is not a crime any more. And there is nothing in Prop 47 that says no one can get jail time and/or fines.

The state and the county will save a LOT of money because of Prop 47. This is not just because of the reduced sentencing, but also because of reduced court costs and reduced supervision costs – after time has been served.

Personally, I supported Prop 47 not just because of the hundreds of millions of dollars that it saves taxpayers, but also because it opens up a lot of funding for mental health services, drug rehab and victim services. We should all support that.

We should all be very upset that so many people are using Prop 47 as an excuse for an increase in crime.

Maybe if we had a better economy, people wouldn’t be out there writing bad checks and doing stupid things? Maybe if we didn’t allow those who are here in violation of federal law, off the hook for everything – we could slow down some of the most violent crimes?

It is very disturbing to see, when you read thru the actual Fresno County crime statistics, that these crimes HAVE NOT increased since November 2014 (when the law was passed). Even more disturbing is that Fresno County STOPPED publishing crime statistics two months after the passage of Prop 47.

I am most grateful to Prop 47 because it gives our overburdened law enforcement people the ability and the time and the resources to go after hardened and dangerous and violent offenders – who are not covered by Prop 47 at all.

I have always had great experiences with law enforcement and have the highest respect for them. I truly believe we must make sure that every aspect of law enforcement is fully funded, but that funding should not be based on lies and fear – or politics. That funding should not be based upon what a candidate promises law enforcement officials in exchange for an endorsement – or anything else.

It should be based on real figures and real facts.

The fact is, we will be saving a lot of money due to Prop 47 and I want to see our law enforcement go after the real criminals. The dangerous criminals.

Medical Marijuana

Summary

Stop Using It As A Scapegoat

In 1996, California passed a very restrictive medical marijuana law. The law is restricted to dire need patients who are under the care of a licensed medical professional. The law states that these patients are allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants. This law is not for recreational use, which is still illegal.

Just recently, our County Board of Supervisors decided to nullify that law here in Fresno County, and they did this on their own - despite the fact that hundreds of people showed up to beg for medical mercy. Those cries went ignored. Instead, all we heard was one erroneous fear tactic after another. Based on pure ignorance.

As far as I know, not one of our Supervisors are doctors. Not one of those Supervisors has any business interfering in the medical treatment of any constituent.

When we start accepting that the County can arbitrarily change our laws (and the will of the majority of voters statewide) we are in serious trouble and we lack the foresight of what will happen with ANY law that the Supervisors don't like.

What will they ban next? Guns? Ammo? Alcohol? How about gay marriage? Abortion? What's to stop them? Be careful or you're next.

Being that this is for MEDICINAL use only, why are we interfering in the healthcare decisions of complete strangers? Aren't Conservatives supposed to oppose that?

Have these people seen the black box warnings on many prescription pharmaceuticals? I have a hard time believing that medical marijuana is as bad, or worse than the dangerous drugs that many doctors are pushing on their patients.

If you think medical marijuana has a lot of taxpayer costs associated with it (mainly for law enforcement), wait til you see how much taxpayers are on the hook for for all the taxpayer paid Medi­cal and Medicaid money being spent on ridiculously overpriced drugs.

If the enforcement of the county ban is expensive, they shouldn't have created the problem to begin with. There are many crime problems with liquor stores and other businesses, being robbed for example ­ why aren't the BOS screaming about shutting them down too?

I have repeatedly asked the Fresno County Sheriff's Department to provide me with legitimate statistics related to crime due specifically to medical marijuana - I have yet to hear back from anyone at the department. Furthermore, they have an entire page on their website devoted to marijuana crimes, yet that page has not been updated since 2013 - right before the county passed the law against medical marijuana.

The drug problem we have is not a result of the recent medicinal use marijuana laws and anyone who thinks otherwise should be immediately booted out of office.

As a Conservative, I oppose politicians telling me what medical treatments are best for me and my family.

And for the record, I do not drink or do drugs. I do not support recreational drug use.

Videos (3)

Fresno County Mental Health is in need of a major overhaul. We have the resources, but they are not being used properly.

— May 5, 2016 Lauren Stephens

Fresno County Sueprvisors are making over $113,000.00 a year, plus bonuses and benefits. Why?

— May 9, 2016 Lauren Stephens for Fresno County Supervisor - District 5

If you live in rural Fresno County, chances are, there are things going on around you that you don't like. Our surrounding cities and communities are looking to take our land. And we don't like it. We can easily make that stop. Watch the video to find out how.

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