Mark appeared at a forum with fellow Republican candidates at the monthly Santa Clarita Republican Women Federated meeting.
During candidate introductions, Mark thanked the other candidates and admitted, "This is a learning curve for me; I’ve only been in the campaign for a month, so I’m the last one to jump in."
"I don’t want to talk so much about what I’m going to do but what I have done," he continued. He explained his early life, joining the Marine Corps under President Ronald Reagan, meeting his wife, and marrying and selling everything they owned to backpack across 13 countries.
"We were momentarily detained in communist Hungary, came back to the United States, had the biggest culture shock of our lives," Mark acknowledged. "Even though we were born and raised here, we had no idea how great this country was until we left and came back."
Mark and his wife returned to the United States poor and homeless. "My wife and I had no money. We spent everything we could muster up—much like my campaign—to go do this thing. We ended up being homeless out in Llano for 8 months, lived in a tent, no water, no electricity, no bathroom."
As a result of his experiences and seeing the world—and his country—in new light, Mark continued, "the nexus of why I’m here, is this calling, this feeling that I’m being lead to stand up and fight that fight that I never thought I’d have to do in my own country."
"Twice I’ve taken that oath to protect the constitution of the United States. I always understood that part that says from all enemies both foreign—I understood foreign—but I never understood domestic. Today I do. I understand the domestic threat. There are people that are trying to erode American values for something that I’ve seen overseas that does not work. For the last 20 years I’ve worked for the Sheriff’s Department. I’ve had the opportunity to help families in crisis. I’ve supervised the Vital Intervention Directional Alternative program. I’ve seen everything negative about our culture and our district. I’m here to tell you that I will continue fighting that fight; continue advocating for those that don’t have a voice; continue trying to build unity in my community so we can have the America that we dreamed of as children, and that we want for our own children."
Having raised 3 children in California's 25th Congressional District, Mark described his discontent over the education system and the developing social agenda, "Going through that process and the educational institutions here in our district is what led my wife and I to pull them out of public school and home school them. We saw 20 years ago the agenda that was coming. We did not want our children socialized that way. I’ve advocated for these things all my life. I’m going to continue to advocate them when I end up in Congress. Thank you.”
Mark responded to the question of how he intends to re-energize the Republican party by stating, "Ronald Reagan once said, ‘Most people spend their entire lives wondering if they’ve ever made a difference. Marines don’t have that problem’ I believe one of the things is we need to have leaders that can stand up and take a few hits. Because to energize our party, we’re going to have to be able to say things that some folks aren’t going to like. We’re also going to need to say those things in a way that is not abusive, not demeaning, but just simply straight to the fact. That said, we need to get young people. We need to bring young people into the party. My own son came to me, he thought Republicans were just rich, white men and he couldn’t relate to them. And I get that. A lot of our politicians are millionaires and this younger generation can not relate to them. ."
On healthcare, Mark spoke against single payer healthcare and overall government involvement. He also brought up the concern of healthcare and travel. He, like other candidates, believes that healthcare should be likened more to car insurance.
About the issue of voter fraud, Mark said, "This is one of those things that we just need to step up and do what we’re supposed to be doing already, without having to create more laws and more regulations. That would be my first step: actually enforce existing laws."
Discussing abortion, Mark was adamant: "I’m absolutely against spending taxpayer money on Planned Parenthood." He does not think taxpayer money should be involved in removing babies from a mother's womb. "Let it be a business, let it thrive in the regular capitalism," he suggested. "One of the things that I tell people: love does not kill babies, fear does." Mark is for taking money from Planned Parenthood and giving it to programs that aim to help women get other alternatives to abortion, support, and healthcare for their babies.
In regards to the southern border crisis, Mark likened it to experiences he's had as a Deputy Sheriff, "In law enforcement, when you have a crisis, the first thing to do is contain it." While we may choose to focus on high traffic areas to start, he believes at some point a wall will need to run the length of our entire southern border. Relating to his travels abroad, Mark said "there’s no country you can just walk into freely, unannounced and not expect any problems. Mexico itself has a put a border wall on its southern border." Secondly, Mark called out for changing asylum laws and immigration laws. "It shouldn’t take five years for someone to become a legal immigrant."
On whether or not he supports Trump, Mark commented, "He was not a politician. I knew he was a businessman. I knew he was brash. ...I hoped that he would go in there and shake things up and that’s what he’s done." What Mark really appreciated though, was Trump's creation of jobs and support of the middle class, leading to growth in our country. "I would be proud to be a part of that growth and watch our country grow again," he said, adding how much we would love to see "the middle class find its home again."
Mark was straightforward about the need for community and reaching out to Democratic voters, "I've never asked somebody what their political affiliation was before I helped them. Helping our community is helping our community, plain and simple." Throughout his time on the Sheriff's Department, Mark has severed a diverse community in all manners of needs and crises. "We need to show our community that, one, we’re very human, that we care, and that we’re here to help them with their fears, because their fears is just the same as our fears. People want to have a safe community. They don’t want to feel threatened. Open up a dialog, and have a good, honest, open dialog where no one’s afraid of being offended by each other. That’s when we come together. Once we come together, then they’re going to vote for someone who makes them feel that way, opposed to what their political affiliation is."
Homelessness is a rising problem within the community and Mark had much to comment on: "That’s something I’m very familiar with, one being homeless myself, two, having to arrest homeless people because it was the only grace or mercy that we could come up with to get them some help for the need that they were in. I know in Lancaster we have over 500 vets living in the dirt. North of town we have an entire little village of just women and children that are homeless. This is unacceptable. How do we get out of that is a complex problem. The Sheriff’s Department has a host team now, the board of supervisors, thank you to them for funding more deputies for that. It’s going to be an inch by inch battle to get rid of what we have. And when I say get rid of, I mean to get the money that’s already there to these people that need it. Get the VA involved. Most important, we have to get each other involved. A friend of mine called me, said him and his wife are living in their truck in a Wal-Mart parking lot––they lost everything. Their house. Everything. My wife and I bought them into our home and we basically took care of them until they could get out on their own. It’s going to take us, as a community, to show that we care about our community."
And lastly, Mark's comments on the topic of education were, "I would like to see our state people get us back to reading, writing, and arithmetic. Get back to basics." He mentioned the school welfare checkups he does through VIDA, and commented on the situation at hand, "We’re working with seniors right now who can’t read or write." He stressed the importance of education, and spoke out against the agenda within our schools. "I have a passion for education for our kids and without it, we’re just going to end up with more people homeless or more people in our jails." He also gave a shout out to K12's California Virtual Academies, which provides families with homeschool options in the state of California, and which all 3 of his children attended.