In a town hall meeting Meg Whitman, a GOP frontrunner for governor, gained a powerhouse endorsement from former presidential candidate John McCain. “I was inspired by John to run for governor, his commitment for smaller government is now mine,” Whitman said.
Whitman brings a lot to the table. She is a savvy businesswoman who brought eBay through the national ranks. Worth an estimated $1.4 billion, Whitman claims she has what it takes to not let California fail and be the state’s first female governor.
The usual stump speech topics were presented to an enthusiastic crowd in Orange County. “We will create more jobs by stripping the regulation and high taxes associated with California,” Whitman announced. “Next we must cut wasteful spending and finally address the K-12 schools that now rank 48th in the country.”
These statements are nothing new to the campaign trail; however Whitman yields a lot of calculated business experience in her portfolio. “Her ability to streamline business will make her successful in Sacramento,” Senator McCain added. “She will bring hope and confidence back to the state capitol.”
Whitman proposes a host of solutions for the problems that plague California. In an attempt to build a broad bipartisan coalition, Whitman plans to work directly with union workers.
“First, more than 80 percent of workers are working without a contract. I will tackle the unions by renegotiating these contracts. Technology is another important sector within the state that isn’t being used to its full potential. I will also employ technology to streamline the state government,” she said.
Another area Whitman proposes cutting back is within the DMV. “If we simply pay once every two years, we will save the state $1 billion per year.”
It is clear Whitman is comfortable on the national stage. The ease at which she answered questions proves she is up for the tough task of running for California’s top spot.
“Meg speaks with candor,” said Amy Colin, a town hall attendee. “I thought she was a better speaker than John McCain and her ability to really breakdown any question put to her was impressive.”
A trend Whitman hopes to reverse is the staggering size of state government. “The state capitol has grown by 80 percent in the last 10 years. That is a real problem,” she said.
Indeed reducing the size of government may pose a bigger problem than anyone anticipates. Sacramento’s growth comes with a union cost. In fact these unions run the state capitol by controlling the legislature’s purse strings.
“There are not many people who are willing to vote themselves out of a job,” Whitman says. “But I will cut a strict 10 percent across the board. I feel bad for those who will lose their job, but I also feel bad for the other unemployed Californian’s who don’t work for the state.”
Looking down the road one can’t help but notice the California school system is in a lot of trouble. When asked how she would repair a broken system near the bottom of the list, Whitman turned to the Florida playbook.
“Under Jeb Bush, Florida was able to turn their schools around by implementing three things,” she explained.
First, Bush graded each school A-F, letting parents know where their schools stood. Then the Florida governor increased the number of Charter schools in order to provide parent choice and finally he paid higher performing teachers more money.
“Once parents can see how their individual school is performing, they will get together and make the necessary changes for their children’s education,” Whitman insisted.
The one thing Whitman promises to make use of that current Gov. Schwarzenegger does not is the ‘Line Item Veto.’ “This is something the president of the U.S. would kill for and I plan to use a lot as governor.”
Meg Whitman Bio
Meg Whitman, 52, retired from eBay in March 2008 following a decade with the company. She helped eBay grow from 30 employees and $4.7 million in revenue to more than 15,000 employees, almost $8 billion in revenue and a network of 12 million users in California alone.
Before eBay, Whitman distinguished herself in leadership positions with Procter & Gamble, Bain & Company, Disney, Stride Rite Corporation, FTD and Hasbro.
On February 9, 2009, she announced the formation of her Exploratory Committee for Governor of California.