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Meet Stephen Houlahan, running for Congress, California, District 48

District 48 contains a large portion of inland San Diego County including Santee, Poway, and Temecula.

Stephen is a seasoned registered nurse with over 25 years of experience in critical care, showcasing his dedication to service. Alongside his nursing career, he is a devoted husband and father, sharing the joys of coaching his son’s athletic pursuits like soccer, baseball, rock climbing, jujitsu, and snowboarding. Stephen is also an environmental activist, serving as the president of Save Mission Trails. He stopped over a billion dollars in fossil fuel infrastructure from being built in Mission Trails Regional Park!

Stephen’s political background is marked by his tenure as a former City Councilman and Vice Mayor of his hometown, Santee. He was heading towards the mayoral seat when opposition stemming from his leadership in Black Lives Matter protests following George Floyd’s murder divided his constituents. Dissatisfied with the representation provided by current and past congressmen, Stephen aims to be a representative for his community members, despite the district’s Republican majority.

For Stephen, politics isn’t about partisanship; it’s about finding common ground and working together to address his community’s challenges. Drawing on his experience, he outlines key community challenges, including threats to democracy, healthcare access, social security, and climate change. He advocates for expanding Medicare, securing social security, and implementing renewable energy solutions. Stephen also highlights the importance of addressing infrastructure issues and homelessness, supporting veterans, and advocating for comprehensive solutions to benefit all residents. Instead of criminalizing those struggling, Stephens wants to implement programs to help them get back to where they need to be.

Stephen envisions a future where proactive measures are taken to combat climate change, such as transitioning completely off fossil fuels and implementing carbon capture methods like tree planting. He emphasizes the importance of treating people of all backgrounds with respect and equality, citing personal concerns about racial profiling and advocating for reforms in law enforcement and immigration policies. Additionally, Stephen highlights the need for pragmatic problem solvers in politics willing to collaborate across party lines for the greater good, drawing from his experiences advocating for term limits and other reforms.

Stephen told us that Santee is currently split— estimating it as 40% Democrat, 60% Republican, but remains optimistic about flipping it within the next decade. He emphasizes the importance of long-term vision and persistence, drawing parallels to past successes in flipping city councils and the Board of Supervisors. Despite potential setbacks, Stephen is committed to representing all constituents and ensuring that every voice is heard.

Stephen shares that he has a beloved golden retriever named Bella, whom he adores like family. He also reveals his passion for weightlifting and martial arts, including boxing, Muay Thai, and wrestling, describing himself as 225 pounds of “raging activist!”

Stephen’s experience in activism and dedication to his community shines through in his inclusive leadership approach. With a career rooted in service and a commitment to environmental advocacy, he embodies the resilience and compassion needed to address the pressing issues within District 48.

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Democrats have the White House and the Senate, but in 2024, we risk losing it all. Democracy, women’s rights, human rights, the environment, social security, and medicare are all on the line.

There is too much at stake for us not to vote all the way down the ballot just because we don’t know who is running. Down-ballot candidates receive the least votes in every election, yet they play some of the most critical roles in our communities. It’s time that we know who we are voting for.

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