Placerville school board trustee and Democratic candidate for Congress Sean Frame was in Calaveras County on July 6 to attend the Arnold Independence Day Parade and crafts fair. His campaign to unseat Congressman Tom McClintock has many foothill Democrats optimistic that 2020 could be the year they topple the six-term congressman.
In 2018, Democrat Jessica Morse received over 155,000 votes and dramatically narrowed McClintock’s margin of victory from 26% in 2016 to an astonishing 8% difference.
Frame, a small business owner and family man, has served on the Placerville Union School District Board of Education since 2011. His involvement in the school district took a tragic turn in early 2011, when he was asked to serve on a committee to select a new school principal, after his son’s principal was gunned down by a janitor.
Before the start of the parade, Frame walked along the parade route and introduced himself to local residents seated in folding chairs along the closed highway. In addition, he thanked folks for showing their patriotism by attending the Independence Day celebration.
In my interview with Frame after the event, I asked about his views on education, wildfire prevention, forest management, health care, day one in Congress, the campaign trail and his Republican opponent.
On education, Frame said the federal government plays a large role with special education and Title I (at-risk youth) funding. He says both programs are underfunded throughout the district.
“The federal government has never fully funded special education,” he said.
He’s also very concerned about the homeless population in the district. At any given time, up to 110 children could be homeless in his school district of 1,300 students.
“Homeless children are the at-risk students under Title 1. When I go to D.C., I’ll make sure these funds are not only protected but increased,” he said.
He also believes our high schools and community colleges should be expanding their occupational programs for the type of jobs we have here.
“We have more than enough work for people with trades in our communities,” he said.
On wildfire prevention and forest management, Frame believes we need to increase investments in programs that recharge meadows with groundwater, reduce fuel loads, selectively thin forests, and repurpose sawmills to generate electricity from wood waste.
“If you have an ecosystem that is recharged with groundwater, you have lower temperatures and fewer dead trees. To be successful, you need reliable long-term funding with all stakeholders seated at the table. The good news is that everybody is thinking about it every day,” he said.
On health care, Frame believes the current system is unsustainable. He believes insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies have too much influence on members of Congress. Ultimately, he believes we need to transition to a single-payer system, which will serve people more efficiently and help our rural hospitals avoid unnecessary closures.
“I don’t know how we reform the system without single-payer. We’re paying way too much of our GDP (gross domestic product) on health care,” he said.
On day one in Congress, Frame will meet with the Progressive Caucus. In addition, he will advocate for a Natural Disaster Insurance Bill that will help folks recover from weather-related disasters and will help stabilize the insurance market by preventing widespread cancellations of insurance policies in our area.
On his approach to addressing important issues on the campaign trail, Frame believes party affiliation is not as important as discussing the issues that matter to our community.
To be an effective representative in Congress, Frame intends to run a people-powered, grassroots campaign that relies on small individual donors, not corporate political action committees.
On his Republican opponent, Frame believes McClintock shows us each and every day that he really doesn’t care about the needs of the district, and is focused instead on the needs of the billionaire Koch brothers and his own conservative ideology.
As a member of Congress, Frame wants to tell our story. Frame believes that with McClintock, “We do not have representation in Washington. Nobody is telling our story. Nobody is minding the store.”
Marc Boyd is an educator, a businessman, and former Democratic candidate for Assembly in the Foothill District.