California GOP House candidate Kevin Kiley says Ukrainian-Americans have 'powerful perspective' on freedom

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California state Assemblyman and congressional candidate Kevin Kiley says the Ukrainian-American community in Sacramento has a "powerful perspective to offer" voters this midterm election cycle – either let freedoms continue "slipping away" or return to the "founding principles" of the United States.

Kiley, during an interview with Fox News Digital, said he has been attending vigils, rallies and prayer breakfasts hosted by the Ukrainian-American community in Sacramento in the past several days as Russian President Vladimir Putin continued his war on Ukraine.

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"It has been pretty inspiring to see the way that the entire greater Sacramento area has really rallied in support of the Ukrainian-Americans here," Kiley said. "It is a community that is so important to the fabric of our area."

Sacramento, according to a 2020 census analysis by the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan, has one of the largest communities of recently arrived Ukrainian immigrants in the United States.

This Aug. 31, 2017, file photo shows Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif.  (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

"They came here for the American dream, for freedom, for liberty, for opportunity," Kiley continued. "Unfortunately, you know, even before all of this, you have seen those things sort of slipping away in California, more than any other state in the country."

Kiley said limits of free speech on college campuses, for example, are "antithetical to what this country is supposed to be about."

"I think that this community has a powerful perspective to offer in the fundamental choice we face right now as a country," Kiley said. "Do we want to continue to pursue the failed policies that are ruining the state of California? Or do we want to return to the founding principles of our country that have made this the place that everyone wants to come?"

Kiley, who announced his campaign for California’s third congressional district in January, has been a state assemblyman five years, elected in 2016. He is also a former prosecutor and former deputy attorney general.

"Since I’ve been in the legislature, things have just kind of gotten worse and worse in our state in terms of the effect of these radical and corrupt policies that we get from the likes of (California Gov.) Gavin Newsom," Kiley said, pointing to California’s high rate of poverty, cost of living and more.

"California has always sort of been the apex of the American dream," he said. "It’s where people want to come from around the world, even within the United States, and you’re seeing that population decline in California."

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Kiley said that California is "a perfect case study in the failures of extreme, radical, liberal or progressive policies."

"I think that the voice of the Ukrainian community, the larger Slavic community in California, is really powerful in demonstrating that," he said. "I think that with the war now, it is just taking all of these issues and heightening them in so many ways."

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference after meeting with students at James Denman Middle School Oct. 01, 2021, in San Francisco.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference after meeting with students at James Denman Middle School Oct. 01, 2021, in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Kiley pointed to gas prices in the state, where some Californians are paying as much as $7 per gallon.

Gas prices have surged across the nation, with the national average price per gallon exceeding $4.30, according to AAA, the highest prices since the 2008 financial crisis.

California is a traditionally blue state, but Kiley, a Republican, said there is "a growing sense of dissatisfaction and desire for fundamental change, even among Democrats and independents."

California's GOP this week endorsed Kiley, who has raised $800,000 during the first seven weeks of his campaign, a source familiar with the campaign told Fox News.

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Kiley previously ran as a Republican hoping to oust Newsom from office in the recall election last year.

California's GOP primary is set for June 7. Kiley is up against Republicans Scott Jones and Monika Sheldon-London for the party's nomination.

Brooke Singman Fox News