We asked Irvine Mayor Don Wagner why he is running to represent the Orange County Third District Supervisor seat left vacant when Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R-Orange) was elected District Attorney of Orange County.
The Special Election will be held on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. There will be a candidate forum at Trinity Presbyterian Church on Friday, February 15, 2019 at 7pm.
Why I’m Running for Supervisor
By Donald P. Wagner
I am running for county supervisor because there are things at the county we need to fix, and because I alone in the race bring success at the local level, where county supervisors work, in actually fixing problems for people living in Irvine and throughout the Third Supervisorial District.
I have led a Renaissance in Irvine over the last few years. At the Orange County Great Park, we are finally providing world class sports facilities and open space – after years of promises and false starts and the wasteful spending of over two hundred million dollars by prior council leadership.
Irvine remains the safest city of its size in the nation according to FBI statistics. The city council I lead continues our unprecedented relationship with and support for the Irvine Unified School District. I have brought back the Irvine Transportation Commission to address traffic growth which had been ignored in the past, and I have implemented an aggressive plan to ease existing traffic bottlenecks.
Finally, the city again has won awards under my leadership as a model for sound fiscal management. We have balanced our budget without raising taxes and still provided the public safety and public amenities for which Irvine is internationally renowned.
I want to take that record of accomplishment to the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
Certainly there is a lot of work to do at the county level. For example, the homeless problem was allowed to fester for too long. It should be unacceptable to everyone in Orange County that a single human being who wants housing should go without, much less that we should have people dying on our streets! That is why, when the county sprang on Irvine a half-baked, wholly unworkable tent city proposal that would have merely relocated the county’s homeless problem to an uninhabitable spot near Irvine homes, schools, and parks, I led the effort not just to stop that scheme, but to actually find a real solution. I have been at the table with the Federal Judge overseeing the homeless case, and at the table with other South County mayors, to collectively find a comprehensive compassionate solution that protects public safety.
The Board of Supervisors also has oversight responsibility for public safety in Orange County beyond just the homeless issue. Unfortunately, the incredible safety record in Irvine has not been shared around the county. We are seeing an increase in violence, property crimes, drug abuse, and human trafficking. Much of this increase is the result of unwise policy choices made by the legislature in Sacramento. I argued passionately against those choices during my time in the legislature representing most of the Third District. The fight must continue at the Board of Supervisors to protect all the people of Orange County, to put in jail the dangerous predators lurking among us, and to destroy the scourge of human trafficking,
In addition, I have worked with county leadership over contentious land use issues to assure that the interests of the people in planned and responsible growth, not the interests of developers in quick profits, are respected by government. Where necessary, Irvine has sued the county to force responsible planning and growth. I will take to the Board of Supervisors on behalf of every city and every resident in Orange County the same demand that the county act responsibly in its planning.
No one from the City of Irvine has ever served on the Board of Supervisors. But today, Irvine is the largest part of the Third Supervisorial District and the most vibrant city in all of Orange County. An Irvine seat at the table, with the experience I can bring to the discussion at that table, will benefit all the residents of the Third District.
People live and work in Orange County because of our superb quality of life. That is what brought my wife and I and our then young family to Orange County almost thirty years ago. I have spent my time in public service working to maintain that quality of life for the people I am privileged to represent in local government. I am running for the Board of Supervisors to enhance that quality of life for all of Orange County.
Don Wagner has been serving the Orange County community for two decades. Don is the Mayor of Irvine, practicing attorney, husband, father, and former legislator of Assembly District 68.
Under Don’s leadership as Mayor, the Irvine Great Park is finally being built. He has led in providing additional park, recreation and quality of life improvements in the city — all without raising taxes. He has implemented a detailed traffic improvement plan that has reduced traffic congestion. Don is a proven, results-driven leader — he will take that same approach to serving you on the County Board of Supervisors.
First elected in 1998 to the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees, Don served three consecutive terms, including an unprecedented six years as Board President. Under Don’s leadership, his district balanced every budget and paid off all debts without ever raising taxes. He quickly developed a reputation as a straight-shooter with a commitment to fiscal responsibility.
Over the course of his six years in the State Assembly, Don served on a number of different committees, including Budget, Health, Education, and Revenue and Taxation. Since he was first elected, he also served as the Vice-Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee with jurisdiction over the legal profession, the courts, and most state governing codes. In addition, he served on all of the financial committees, with responsibility for all state spending and revenue, quickly earning a reputation for expertise in government fiscal affairs such that he was twice appointed by the Association of California Cities – Orange County to teach government finance and budgeting to local elected officials at UCI.
A practicing attorney, Don is also quite active in the Orange County business and legal communities. He has served on several committees and advisory boards for the Orange County Bar Association, and as a Judge Pro Tempore in the Superior Court of Orange County. He has also published articles on legal, political, and cultural topics in the local media.
Don is committed to his community and has been actively involved in several non-profits and charities. He served as president of the American Lung Association of Orange County, an affiliate of the nation’s oldest voluntary health organization. He founded and served as the first president of the Orange County Chapter of the Federalist Society, a national organization of conservative lawyers, judges, and law professors committed to ensuring judicial integrity and strict adherence to the Constitution of the United States.
Don received his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Los Angeles. He earned his Juris Doctorate in 1987 from the University of California, Hastings College of Law and was admitted to the California Bar in the same year.
Don and his wife, Megan, reside in Irvine, where they raised their three children. All of their children were educated in Irvine public schools, where the Wagners have a strong history of heavy involvement in volunteer work throughout Orange County. Don is a past finalist for the Irvine “Citizen of the Year” award and served several years on the board and as president of the Northwood High School Athletic Boosters.
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