FAIRFIELD — Jim Frazier stood under a basketball hoop Friday and spoke about 35 years of working with his hands – as well as signing the front of paychecks.
“I’m proud that I worked as a carpenter,” the state assemblyman said. “I built some of the nicest homes in the Bay Area.”
Frazier, D-Oakley, a general contractor before his 2012 election to represent the 11th District that includes Fairfield and Vacaville, told students gathered in a gym at the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School that his work in Sacramento involves a different kind of building.
“My job is relationships,” he said. “If you don’t have relationships, you’re not going to get anything done in this arena.”
His business background benefits legislative work because other lawmakers may lack that experience, the assemblyman suggested.
“I’m proud to say they’re starting to listen,” Frazier said.
Part of what he wants in Sacramento is protection of school funding.
“I’m there with both hands up,” he said, to take on anybody “trying to take away money from education.”
Students asked him questions that included how to get more funding for English as a Second Language classes.
Diane Wilson, a teacher at the adult school that has about 2,000 students, said Frazier’s appearance is part of an effort to show students they can play a part in state politics.
“They can have a voice,” she said. “Some of them are starting to see that.”
Teacher Michelle Winnett agrees with her colleague.
“We’re trying to get a bigger buy-in,” Winnett said of increasing student interest in what takes place in Sacramento.
Frazier told students they can call his office if they’re having problems with state agencies such as the Employment Development Department.
“We are in the customer service business,” he said of his office.
Student Ajwinder Toor, 21, of Fairfield, said he’d heard the school, where the marquee welcomed “Representative Frazier,” was having a congressman come and talk. But Frazier’s legislative base in Sacramento rather than Washington, D.C., didn’t diminish the event for Toor.
“He is the way I expected,” the student said.
Fairfield-Suisun School District Trustee Judi Honeychurch attended the talk by Frazier.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.