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June 8, 2008

Tobacco Money in California

-- by Dave Johnson

Big tobacco is pouring money into the crucial California Senate District 19 race! See this story: Tobacco firm funds county GOP : Local News : Ventura County Star,

The nation's largest tobacco company has donated $50,000 to the Ventura County Republican Central Committee as the local party gears up to help GOP candidate Tony Strickland in what is expected to be a multimillion-dollar campaign this fall in the 19th Senate District.

[. . .] "There's an alarming trend of the tobacco industry increasing its influence by ramping up its political contributions," said Jim Knox, vice president of the American Cancer Society Action Network.

Knox noted the tobacco industry played "a major role in killing healthcare reform in California last year. They don't issue press releases, they don't testify at hearings, but they're hard at work in the halls of the Capitol."

Senate District 19 is the potential "flip" seat in the senate. If Hannah-Beth Jackson wins it could mean the vote that lets Democrats finally pass budgets.

So why is tobacco interested in keeping Republican ability to block budgets? Why did they fight to block health care reform?

Part of the financing of the healthcare plan was to have been a $1.75 per-pack tax increase on cigarettes.
Please go read the rest of the article if you care about health and politics - and the health of politics - in California.

Disclaimer - I do some work for Speak Out California, which was founded by Hannah-Beth Jackson, but this post comes from my own concern over this and is not related to that work.

Posted by Dave Johnson at June 8, 2008 6:14 PM

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