Kimberlin Brown Targets Ruiz, Eyes White House Run
But can this former soap opera star enter the rough and tumble of California politics? What does she bring to the Republican party that she would even have a shot at the White House somewhere in the future?
La Prensa Hispana sat down with her and her political mentor and adviser, none other than John Sununo, former Chief of Staff for president George H.W. Bush, and former three term governor of New Hampshire.
Some of you may remember Ms. Brown as “Sheila Carter” in The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, where she made an appearance as late as last year. Sheila Carter certainly had resolve, decisiveness, fiery speech, and even a villainous streak. Kimberlin Brown will need to incorporate these qualities (and more) into her political persona if she plans to unseat Democratic incumbent Raúl Ruiz for the 36th Congressional District.
She has shown potential, at least of fiery speech. You may remember her from the 2016 Republican Convention where she fired up the crowd on behalf of the party’s values and candidate. If you listened carefully, you can tell that she was also saying to the country, “Folks, here I am, and I am not going away!”
But does she have what it takes to seize the 36th Congressional District away from Raúl Ruiz?
In partial answer she points to her successes as an entrepreneur and small business woman. She has a successful avocado farm, an interior design company, and a sports and fishing rental at a San Diego marina. Given the varying nature of these enterprises one would have to admit that she certainly knows how to multitask in different environments and successfully mix it up with different market economies, and the people they represent. No small feat. She sees herself as a role model for women who want to start up their own small business from scratch or reach any goal they want. “My grandmother told me I could do anything I could put my mind to. You’re in America, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise… You can achieve anything you want to in the United States of America… When I was 13 years old I was selling flowers on the street corners. I lied about my age so I could get the job. I would ride my bike to work every day during the summers.” Quite more animated now, she continued, “I have the business experience that no one running for this race possesses. I understand where small business goes to, small business doesn’t know if you are a Republican, it doesn’t know if you’re a Democrat, it doesn’t know if you’re Latino, it doesn’t know if you’re black, it doesn’t know if you’re white. The rules and regulations that are passed affect all of us in the same way. So, we need to start electing officials that actually understand business, that actually know how to work with a budget, that know how to implement things to have successes along the way.”
Another arrow in her quiver to defeat Ruiz is her stated genetic connection with the Latino community. “My competitor, Raul, hasn’t done for this district what it deserves. He truly hasn’t. And if you look at our Latino community, they truly feel left behind. They truly felt that Raul Ruiz was going to make a difference for them, and it didn’t happen… I have a great connection with the Latino community, possibly because of my family coming from Portugal, having that Latin background as well. I’m connecting with people on a level they haven’t felt they have been reached on before.”
Yes. But can she spend a day selling enchiladas from the back of a pick-up truck at one of the local grocery store parking lots? Latino women don’t necessarily want a “hand out.” They would rather have a “show me how.” Would be nice for Ms. Brown Pelzer to offer bilingual workshops on how to organize small business here in the valley. La Prensa Hispana will run the advertising.
As if on cue, Mr. Sununu added, “Everything that Kimberlin says is absolutely right. In addition to that, one of the great solvers of difficult issues in societies is an expansion of opportunity. When there is more opportunity then people fulfill the opportunity. Let the small businesses of America provide. An important role for government is to make sure the economy continues to grow and is vibrant. When opportunities for jobs increase, when paychecks grow, when everybody is getting a piece of the pie, then nobody resents others getting a piece of the pie. That’s an important component that I think for almost a decade was ignored in this country. But now you’re beginning to see it. Detroit, Michigan, is a manufacturing community. When you look at the number of votes that a growth agenda got there in the last election, you know it had to come from people of every background, culturally and racially. Because they want jobs, and when jobs are available, differences disappear.”
At this point, Ms. Brown was gaining momentum, building on the economic and business argument. You can tell that’s her strength, where she gets animated. “If you look at the economy today, you have the most robust economy, the lowest unemployment among the Latino community, the lowest unemployment among the African-American community. When you see people going off food stamps for the first time in their entire life, when you see that happening, it’s a wonderful growth factor. And that’s what we need to continue doing, continue going forward with, these tax cuts have been instrumental to small businesses all across the United States. The fact that you can expense now within your first year, versus taking seven years to expense, items you buy for your daily operations, people are reinvesting into their businesses, they are expanding for the first time because they finally have the funds to do so. We need to continue down that path.
Sununu, perhaps unconsciously reaching back to his Chief of Staff years, pitched in with direct advice to La Prensa Hispana (and other businesses in the area). “If the newspaper [La Prensa Hispana] wanted to modernize all the internal computers before the [recent] tax bill, they would probably have to take a percentage over 5 years as a deduction, and then pay taxes on the rest of the profit. Now they can take the whole expense against that, their tax is reduced tremendously, and they are able to produce a better paper faster, more efficiently, hire more people…” Sununu was not quite done before Kimberlin chipped in, “therefore you create more jobs”. Copy and paste that advice, put it on the bulletin board. Bring it up at the next staff meeting.
Sununu was not at all diffident as to why he had come to the valley on this occasion. “I came to support a very dear friend of mine, Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, who has decided to run for Congress, and I think it’s just so important to get her elected, that I told her I would come out here, I would do whatever she asked me to do to help, and I’m at her disposal in this campaign.
She’s a fresh face, a much nicer looking fresh face than mine!” (You are spot on, Governor).
I asked Kimberlin for a closing message to the Latino community as she seeks their vote. “I’m a business promoter. A business builder. I have a proven track record of success. And I want to help everyone in our community. The Latinos are a huge part of my community as well. And my door will always be open. Always be open to anyone who steps through that door.”
La Prensa Hispana may show up at her door for a picnic, tamales, música ranchera, y toda la familia…
But I had one more question for Govenor Sununu. “Would there be a John Sununu Chief of Staff in the current administration?” But I gave him a pass, “you don’t have to go there if you don’t want to.” I had a more pressing question, “Would you see a John Sununu chief of staff in a Kimberlin Brown Pelzer presidency?” But Ms. Brown Pelzer took over. “That would be an honor, to have John Sununu as my Chief of Staff, let’s just try to get through the congressional race first.”
As we said good-bye an aide whispered something in Kimberlin’s ear. Politely she said, “I have to go now, I need to get dressed for an event this evening.” “Hmmm…” I mused. “Would that be her first state dinner at the White House?”
Vamos Kimberlin! La Prensa Hispana has your back in the Coachella Valley. Nothing happens without your vote.
Everything is possible with your vote June 5.
Vote Kimberlin Brown Pelzer: Representative 36th Congressional District