Dr. Firdos Sheikh with Dave Jones. (Photos: Ras H. Siddiqui)
California’s Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is going to be terming out of his office next year (by reaching his two-term limit) and has now set his sights on becoming the next Attorney General of our Golden State, writes Ras H. Siddiqui.
The elections for California Attorney General’s office will take place in November 2018, just about a year from now, but his campaign has already started with the launch of an impressive website http://www.davejones2018.com/ and statewide fundraisers that are being held at various locations.
We caught up with Dave at one such event held in Granite Bay, California, Oct. 18, at the residence of the Sharif family. In attendance were neighbors, friends and many representatives of the area Middle Eastern and South Asian community. Mahmud Sharif is a great host and the hospitality of his family was deeply appreciated by all in attendance. The terrace of the Sharif home filled to capacity. A social hour and a wonderful Mediterranean dinner started the evening.
Mahmud Sharif spoke briefly and thanked everyone for attending. He invited Mrs. Durriya Syed who does a great deal of interfaith and community outreach work in the Sacramento area, to make the introductions. Ms. Syed started the post dinner formalities on a humorous note.
Dave Jones started off by thanking everyone present for supporting his candidacy. He said that it meant a great deal to him to have this help, both individually and as a community to ensure that the Attorney General’s office is occupied by the person who is best qualified to hold the position and upholds California values. He added that he was excited about this campaign and appreciated the support that he was getting from all over the state from both urban and rural areas. We are campaigning very successfully in building support all over this great state, he said. He also said that our willingness to help his campaign financially gives him the resources to be successful. Dave shared with us the strategic aspect of spending during campaigns for public office, starting with tight control on expenditures till the time the election is much closer and when the voters are really paying attention. At this point spreading the word though social media and word of mouth is very important, he said.
Jones spoke about his primary opponent Xavier Becerra, the incumbent whom he is going to have to unseat. He said that it is important to remember his opponent was appointed and not elected to his current position (Becerra was appointed by Governor Brown after that position was vacated by now U.S. Senator Kamala Harris). He also said that for the past 22 years his opponent has also had an inactive Bar license and has not been practicing law, while he (Jones) has been actively engaged in the profession.
Candidate Dave Jones did not ignore his current position as Insurance Commissioner here either. He ended his talk on a more somber note, including grieving for the lives lost while describing the devastation caused by the recent wildfires burning in our state and his several visits to the impacted areas. He said that part of his job is to make sure that the insurance companies have enough money to pay claims and they do. He added that we are not going to have an issue (of liquidity) even though close to 6,000 structures have been destroyed. We have made sure that they have sufficient reserves, he said. He said that he was also making sure that they are cutting red tape so that those impacted are getting their money quickly especially the people who have immediate needs and are out of their homes, for lodging, food and transportation. He added that he wanted to make sure that the insurers are on site (processing claims) and that they are adequately staffed. “This is going to be a long road to recovery,” said Jones. I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is to see whole neighborhoods laid to waste.”