UNDERHILL THROWS HIS HAT IN THE RACE FOR LT. GOVERNOR
BY ROBERT CLEMENZA | MAY 2, 2020
On Tuesday, former Mayor of Los Santos and longtime Bone County Senator Frank Underhill (R-1) announced that he would be running for Lieutenant Governor, as the Republican nominee. For Underhill, he is in a familiar place. Just three years ago Underhill was elected the 24th Mayor of Los Santos, in a shocking upset over Gareth Keswick and what had been an unbeatable Democratic Party the past few years. However, just a few weeks into his Mayorship, executive order R-01-17 was given out by then Governor Larry Rauner (R) dissolving the City Government of Los Santos and transferring it under the State Government.
Underhill announced his candidacy, in a press conference in city hall, overall the press conference was a rather quiet event outside of a few protesters. There had been some questions over who the Republican candidate would be, many expected Secretary of State Sugely Cuevas to attempt to continue her administration's goals by moving into the Lt. Governor's seat. Elections are scheduled for May 12, 2020.
SAN News got exclusive access to Frank Underhill in his first interview since announcing his candidacy.
Robert Clemenza says: Alright, Senator Underhill thanks for sitting down with me.
Frank Underhill says: I'm happy to do this.
Robert Clemenza says: What made you decide to run for Lt. Governor?
Frank Underhill says: Well, it just felt right. You know? I was having a sit-down with my office, Secretary Cuevas, and some others and we just sort of talked right into it. I wasn't originally planning on running, but it sounded like the right thing to do. I believe we should continue the policies of the Cuevas Administration, and to do that we need someone with the experience and knowledge to do so.
Robert Clemenza says: So your plan as Lt. Governor would be to continue to push the Cuevas administration's goals not to separate yourself?
Frank Underhill says: I don't see a reason to separate myself, while the administration had some flaws, overall it performed better than the ones we had in the past few years. So yeah, the plan is to build our basis on that and to make it even better. Take those same achievements of the Cuevas administration and to set an even greater record.
Robert Clemenza says: Back to your candidacy. How do you view becoming Lt. Governor three years after the City of Los Santos was dissolved just two weeks into your mayorship? It would be almost storybook ending no? Commanding the state that took your mayorship away.
Frank Underhill says: I think it fits, you know. I mean not as an act of revenge or anything like that, but more like an actual chance. A lot of people wanted me to be the mayor of the city, and when I say a lot, I mean it. Now, it's my chance to get back into the executive branch, but just at a statewide position now.
Robert Clemenza says: When you won in 2017, you were apart of a surging Republican Party taking on dominant Democratic Party. Now the roles are reversed, you're apart of a now dominant Republican Party taking on a challenge from the left. Can you talk about the unique challenges this campaign brings?
Frank Underhill says: Well, back then we were on the attack. Now we're playing defense. When I ran for mayor I was more or less like an underdog, really. Now we do have a strong Republican administration but the Senate is blue again. That's the main challenge, when both parties have their own way of promoting their agenda but each side thinks they're the right ones.
Robert Clemenza says: Speak a bit more on the Democrats controlling the Senate, how would your administration work with the other side to get things done?
Frank Underhill says: I worked with them before, I work with them in the Senate right now. Moreno is not just a political opponent who represents a different ideology than mine. I actually consider him as a friend. I said it before, and I'll keep saying it again and again - I am more than willing to work with the other party. My administration heavily focuses on transparency and cooperation in order to prevent things falling between the seats and to avoid possible vetoes on legislation which was voted for by both parties. When we agree on everything just to have it vetoed, that means something wasn't done right.
Robert Clemenza says: You selected a name that doesn't ring my ears around the state to be your running mate, Paris Newman. Why did you pick her?
Frank Underhill says: Well, I know that Paris Newman is well known in the private sector, where she's done quite well. She has a good and solid record, great ideas and she is clearly a refreshment to the party. I'm sure that she'll do wonders as Secretary of State.
Robert Clemenza says: You're the most experienced politician currently holding office in the state. How will your experience help you as Lt. Governor?
Frank Underhill says: I know the representatives, I know how to work with the Senate and other branches of government to produce legislation that actually benefits the people of San Andreas. I've been in this system for some time now, I believe I can carry it forward with my experience as both Senator and President pro Tempore.
Robert Clemenza says: Let's move into some of your ideas for the state, some of the ones people may not be able to find on your website. Yesterday, the San Andreas Black Republican's association endorsed you. How would you help African-Americans in the state?
Frank Underhill says: I'm glad you asked that, because it's quite an important question. It also easily connects to one of your previous questions, this is exactly why I got someone like Paris Newman in my team. I believe that if we create jobs in areas where poverty strikes hard, we can actually overcome crime and help everyone. Not just African-Americans, because when I see someone I don't look at how different they are from me. But how can we both help each other. By creating jobs, by focusing on improving infrastructure and taking better care of our streets we can assist African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and so on and on - Americans. If I can find a job which lets me feed my family and live in decency, I have no reason to turn to crime. That should be our goal as a community, helping others. But that cannot be done down here, in the Senate, by drafting legislation that just spends more and more money. That is done by being present down in the streets. Knowing the problems, how to overcome them. Letting the people be involved, as they know best about where they live, that's why we need to let everyone have a voice.
Robert Clemenza says: There's been various polls and petitions over the past five years that show the citizens of San Andreas are heavily in favor of legalizing marijuana, what are your views on this?
Frank Underhill says: I'm in support of legalizing marijuana, unlike my fellow conservatives, as the likes of Issac Disraeli who are against the legalization of marijuana. It's time for us to move on, as a party and accept what's becoming more and more popular and demanded. I don't think it's just to arrest or fine someone for simply having a few grams of marijuana on them. I hope I'll be able to work with Senator Abbas on that issue, as he recently proposed legislation on the matter.
Robert Clemenza says: To wrap this interview up. What makes you a better candidate for Lt. Governor than Senator Moreno?
Frank Underhill says: We have actual plans which we are more than able to execute, my team got the experience and the support of local businesses and organizations in the State, which just shows you who's more favorable when the subject of jobs-creation is discussed. We're ready to turn vision into reality.
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