Beginning his talk, Mark donated a copy of his book, Love Loudly: Lessons in Family Crisis, Communication and Hope, to be raffled off to members of Right Way Republicans. He explained why he wrote it and the message of the book itself:
“The last 20 years for the Sheriff’s Department I’ve been working with at-risk families,” Mark stated, “The worst of the worst are given to me and my team." Mark explained that the kids sent to the program are often getting kicked out of school or getting involved with negative influences. He and his team work with them and their families for 16 weeks, in lieu of incarceration or in lieu of the child going into the system. "That’s what our whole mission is: to keep them out of an institution.”
In response to these experiences and efforts, Mark was asked often and by many if he would write a book, and so he and his wife investigated what it would take. “We took a huge leap of faith. I signed a contract with a company out of Chicago known as Round Table Companies, they actually agreed to take me on as one of their writers. . . .That journey took 18 months. I wrote this thing from 10pm to 2am every night, got back up at 7 and went back to work.” The book ended up winning an award with USA Best Books as a finalist in parenting and family.
The final title became Love Loudly: Lessons in Family Crisis, Communication, and Hope. “The concept is simple,” Mark explained. “If you took all of our emotions and you boil it down, you’re going to end up with two emotions only: love and fear. Everything comes from those two root emotions. So when someone has hate and anger, it’s basically fear [that] they’re experiencing. We realized that most of us know fear very well. We talk about love, but we don’t necessarily know love. We know fear. And we want love.”
The book wrestles with “all things love—the ability to validate another human being, to give acceptance, security, joy, all these things that would be on that tree” and making that your message when you interact with your kids, your spouse, and human relationships in general. It’s about how to inspire belief and value in those around you.
Moving on, Mark gave a quick synopsis of his life. “I’ve been married to my starter wife for 31 years. We dated for 2, so we’ve been together for 33 years. . . .You get a lotto chance once in your life, and that was my lotto right there. As I explain this journey, my wife’s been with me pretty much step for step, so it’s been a couple’s thing, not just me doing it.”
“I grew up in Sunland. . . .It was a rough home. My family was old-fashioned. They believed in the old spare the rod, spoil the child mindset. So I got out as quick as I could, in fact all of my siblings got out as quick as they could.” Mark is the youngest of 5, with his mother becoming a grandmother before he was born. “The nephew that was born before me, he and I went into the Marine Corps together. . . .I signed my papers in 82, I became a Reagan Marine in 1983. . . .They didn’t think I’d even make it through bootcamp when I first showed up because I was too immature and too insecure. . . .Before I got out I met Melanie—very serendipitous moment, we were rock climbing in Joshua tree”
Mark and Melanie got married in 1988 and as newlyweds decided to sell everything they owned to backpack across 13 countries. The catalyst for the trip was Melanie getting hired by the University of New Orleans to be an exchange nurse in Innsbruck. There, she experienced socialized medicine in Austria. Months later, she also had to seek care in the UK after having an unexpected miscarriage. Mark explained that it doesn’t came close to the care available in the United States. He believes wholeheartedly that our country should not get involved in socialized medicine.
Following their trip, Mark and Melanie returned poor and homeless, and lived in a tent in the desert. Without modern-day conveniences, they would get their water out of a radiator hose at a gas station. This was their routine for 8 months before they saved enough to buy a house.
Following that, Mark got a job for the Los Angeles Country Sheriff’s Department, where he’s worked for over 28 years. He patrolled Lancaster and Palmdale, worked in Leona Valley, and has seen the district at its worst, “I’ve seen the darkest side of what goes on here. It’s not going to offend me, it doesn’t shy me away. I love my community and I love the people in it. All of them.”
Mark continued, “I got asked to get involved in juvenile intervention early on. . . .For the last 20 years I’ve been working Vital Intervention Directional Alternatives, some of you might have heard of VIDA. We have 3 sites in the district, Palmdale Lancaster, Santa Clarita. I’ve gotten to work with a lot of our families. They have legitimate nightmare scenarios and we work with them for 16 weeks, and we have phenomenal success with them.”
What business besides aerospace would you bring to the district? What is your plan to keep manufacturing jobs in Santa Clarita and what will you do to lure new companies to the area?
Mark: "When you look at the Congressional and the State thing, our State is so business adverse. . . .Right now I’m worried about us losing our small businesses. If they get the 15 an hour minimum wage thing, do you know how many small businesses are going to go out? I mean, around my house there’s going to be several. "
"When we talk about manufacturing jobs—the blue collar jobs—blue collar jobs are incredible important because it’s the middle class. The entry level jobs weren’t meant to hold families. They weren’t meant to support a family."
Mark pointed out that men and women often have to work 2 or even 3 different jobs to support their families, which is not how entry level jobs were designed. Blue collar jobs are essential.
Aerospace is huge industry in the Antelope Valley. Mark gave a shout out to Steve Knight for being instrumental in bringing contracts to sustain that industry. Between Boeing, Northrup, and Lockheed, the valley has aerospace work for another 40 years.
“We used to have trades people. Carpenters—that’s what I was. I was a foreman. Plumbers, electricians. When the housing industry took a crash, we lost all of that. Trying to find a good person to come work on your house is hard right now. We’ve got to see if we can get more housing startups. . . .Loans. . . .if you can get a low-interest loan to add onto your house, how many people would actually start remodeling or adding onto your house? Because it helps your equity, right? It builds your assets.”
“Manufacturing jobs—we have to build that. And that’s one thing I love about Trump. We could talk all day long about his words and his Tweets and all that, but the man is brining back the middle class across the country. And he’s doing it in such a fashion, unions—like the Teamsters and some of these other big unions—are starting to look at coming behind him, which is massive. The first time we’re going to see unions supporting a Republican cause is huge.”
“I’ve been in 3 unions. I was a Teamster at 19. Our unions vote Democrat, but the body votes conservative. . . .If we can actually move over and start helping bring back some of these middle class jobs, and get the union jobs flourishing again, it would be huge.”
Mark reminded the group that these are largely State issues, and championed electing conservative Assemblymen and women that can back off taxes that are crippling businesses. "We’re not going to be able to do it from Congress. There’s things we can do at the Congressional level, but the State has got to back off.”
Do you support DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) or the Dream Act?
"I work with a lot of these families. They come to the Sheriff’s Department for help or their kids get in trouble and they come to VIDA."
"DACA and Dream are the same thing. DACA is President Obama’s deferred action. . . .He knew that he couldn’t do a law so he made an executive order called DACA. It was just basically, ‘We know we have to take action, but we’ll defer it’—that’s DACA. The DREAM Act is Congress trying to pass this act to make DACA legal. It’s the same—same people."
"How many of you have ever heard of temporary protective status, TPS? We have people that the government allows into our country under temporary protective service, they’ve been here for 20 years, they have a house, they have children that are now US citizens. They’re productive, working neighbors. Every 18 months they have to resubmit for this and at any time the government can just take them and move them."
"I support these things to a point, because one is, I want them to get in line. I want there to be a line for naturalization. I don’t want them straight to the front, I want them to have a path to citizenship. If you’re here for 20 years, and you’ve not committed a crime, there should be path. But under the way they wrote these things, there’s not. They have to leave, or stay in this state of flex. So let them get in line. "
"I have friends in England that were here illegally. I know some people who have been here for a long time, contributing, worked on our cars, sold cars… they weren’t naturalized citizens. It’s not a Mexican thing. It’s not a Guatemalan thing. It’s how do we bring people in here. If we’re going to expand our economy, we need more workers. First time in my life in 54 years, we have more jobs available than we have workers. First time ever. It’s phenomenal. But let’s make a pathway."
"So yes, I support it, but it’s not an amnesty thing I’m supporting. It’s not straight to front of the line. Let’s just give them a legalized way to say, you can lawfully now apply to become a citizen, go through the process, have your probation period, and if you commit a crime—bye bye."
What about illegal immigration?
"My son and I go to Mexico every year and we build homes for less fortunate. . . .I know what the border is like. I know what the frontera is like. The first 50 miles is known as the frontera. What we’re experiencing right now, is not Mexican immigrants."
"How many of you have noticed Mexico froze 26 US bank accounts and now, for some reason, we have no more big caravans coming. We have somebody inside our country driving this. There’s ads as far as Africa saying, ‘come to American and get free stuff’ We just caught 1000 Africans from the Congo at our southern border."
"When we talk about the immigration problem, we have to look at what the problem really is. Illegal immigration—we can’t sustain it. And two is, it’s a threat. . . .Looking at the law enforcement optics, we know we have ISIS coming through there, we’ve already captured devices that have no other purpose than one to create an explosive device. You won’t hear about that. . . .but we know this stuff is coming across the border."
"Fentanyl—the volume of Fentanyl that’s being approached at our southern border—one bag dropped in a water supply will kill a lot of people. So there’s a legitimate threat there," Mark explained, "The heroin—most of the dope that we’re dealing with in our neighborhoods is coming across that border." Mark believes we need to secure that border and ideally figure out who’s funding the caravan situation so that we can shut that down too.
How can you overturn or get rid of Prop 45, 57, AB109?
(This question does not apply to a federal race and is state-specific, but Mark weighed in on AB109 and Prop 47).
“I was asked to write the recidivism reduction piece for 109," Mark mentioned. The State needed to remove a certain number of inmates from state prison, and decided to do so by pushing them out to the county jail. Counties essentially become parol officers, "We [had] to train up deputies—we call them parol compliance teams—we [had] to train them up to do the job that state parol used to be. State parol went away. They pushed it down to us." The state provided a budget for the job that was well under what should have been assigned. “So there’s no recidivism piece in AB109. They had to get rid of it. They didn’t have the money to buy it. So it’s all compliance, just compliance."
"But it’s AB109—Assembly Bill. It’s a State bill. There’s not much we can do at the Congressional level,” Mark reminded.
Mark then attacked Prop 47, saying 109 is no where near as bad as 47. Using a fictional scenario to illustrate his point, Mark described an individual—both high on and carrying methamphetamine—who then walks into a gun shop, steals a firearm less than $900 in value, runs outside, is caught by deputies, but then released with only a ticket. “Because of this proposition, we give him a ticket and let him go. It’s all misdemeanors now. Even if we get the gun, get the dope, he’s high—it’s all misdemeanors. We live in a state that is crime-tolerant.”
To change these vital state issues, Mark championed electing conservative Assemblymen like Burton Brink.
Are you pro-life?
“I’m absolutely pro-life. My wife’s a neonatal ICU nurse. I’ve been on the unit,” Mark said, encouraging those who haven’t ever seen a neonatal floor to find a way to see it for with own eyes. Hundreds of thousands of dollars go towards saving these babies, and Mark much rather see money going to saving lives, not ending them. “47% of abortions are repeat abortions. 47% percent!” Live action follows the stories of women who have had multiple abortions, using abortions as birth control.
“At the same time,” Mark argued, “I’m pro-women’s rights. See here’s the thing. Somebody’s tabled this conversation to pit us against each other. Because I’ve sworn an oath twice to protect the Constitution—to protect the constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic—I always understood, as Marine, what a foreign enemy was. I never understood domestic. Today I do. Today I understand what a domestic threat is to our Constitution. A woman has a right to her body. That is a Constitutional right she has. A baby has a constitutional right to life. Somebody has tabled an argument where we’re arguing over two Constitutional rights. It is a no-win argument. It is simply made to divide us. And we’re letting it do it.”
“Love does not to kill babies. Fear does. Let’s spend money in assets to come alongside these women who have fear—whatever the reason they decide to terminate that child. Let’s work with them.”
The other area that needs work? Adoption. The foster care system. Mark continued, “There’s a lot of kids that are thrown away. There’s a lot of kids in the foster care program. I just spent the afternoon with a deputy sheriff, he came up to me after the class, he told me he was a foster home kid. Got adopted. Became a deputy sheriff. Just a phenomenal story. We’ve got to be able to do that. We’ve got to able to give the kids that aren’t wanted, homes. How many of you realize that the United States is tracking runaways? The FBI and law enforcement are tracking another category you might not have heard of. We titled it ‘thrown away children’ These are kids that are 10, 12, 13 years old. Mom and dad pull up to street corner, kick ‘em out and take off. They’re thrown away. Literally discarded. Not babies. These are children. Thrown away. It’s in the hundreds of thousands every year.”
Feeling the reality of those stats, and having always wanted to help, Mark talked about opening his home up to those who have been in need. “I’ll do what I can, because when I die, my tombstone is not going to say 'Congress', it’s just going to be a dash between two dates. I want that dash to mean something. And for me, it’s lives—it’s human lives that we change.”