Jeff Stone and Bonnie Garcia Face-off Before Elections

By Angela Monroe

COACHELLA VALLEY — The November elections are now just weeks away, and local candidates are working to win your vote.

Monday night, candidates for our local state senate race faced off in a debate.

It’s a race already generating a lot of heat, this is a closely watched race with two Republicans vying for a state senate seat.

Both have strong words for each other.

We spoke with both candidates, Bonnie Garcia and Jeff Stone, before Monday’s debate at Rancho Mirage Library.

Jeff Stone and Bonnie Garcia are facing off in the race for State Senate District 28.

Supervisor Stone is questioning Garcia’s campaign contributors.

“We need upstanding citizens to go to Sacramento that don’t have money that’s been given to them to the tune of two million dollars, you have to ask yourselves, if you’re the beneficiary of two million dollars in special interest money, who are you really going to be up there representing,” said Stone.

Former Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia disagreed, saying both have raised money in their community.

“I’m citizen Joe, I’m an average person, unlike Mr. Stone I couldn’t write myself a 50,000 dollar check, unlike Mr. Stone, I don’t own 11 companies, I couldn’t write checks out of those coffers either for my campaign like he has,” said Garcia.

Bonnie Garcia also accuses Stone of abusing power after he flashed a badge during a road rage incident.

“It’s inconceivable that a public official could abuse his power so much so that every member of this state that serves in the California legislature would say yes, we need to stop it, and we need to write an anti-Stone law,” said Garcia.

Stone addressed this saying a driver claimed the supervisor cut him off, and then became verbally abusive.

“I was fearing for my life, I pulled the badge out in an attempt to deescalate the situation, and that’s exactly what I did, I de-escalated the situation, I never represented myself as a deputy sheriff,” said Stone.

Still with all the political mudslinging, both Stone and Garcia say they want to focus on the issues.

“Public safety is one of my top priorities, health care is one of my top priorities, help our education system, we rank 48th in the United States, I want to help our local economy, stop sending jobs to other states,” said Stone.

“Jobs, the economy and education, today as a grandmother with two granddaughters that are just starting school, I want to make sure that the promise of America is there for them, they receive an education that they can graduate with enormous debt, buy a home and live in our state,” said Garcia.

CAL FIRE Local 2881 and Riverside Sheriff’s Association announced their endorsements for Jeff Stone at the press conference his campaign held on Monday.

Stone has served on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors since 2004.

Garcia has worked for both Democrat and Republican governors, two state senators, and has 20 years experience working at state and local levels.

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