The Republican candidate for lieutenant governor paid a visit to Crescent City as part of a tour of some of California's most "economically challenged" areas.

Ron Nehring, who is from San Diego County, held a meet-and-greet at Del Norte Republican Central Committee headquarters on Sunday. His journey brought him from other economically challenged areas in the Inland Empire and the Central Valley.

If elected, Nehring hopes to make California more competitive with Texas and other states when it comes to attracting and retaining businesses, he said.

"The lieutenant governor chairs the state's Economic Development Commission. Under (Gavin) Newsom, it's a defunct commission. It needs to be rebooted, and we need to be an incubator and advocate for long-termreforms to make California competitive."

Nehring is the only son of German parents who immigrated to the United States in 1961. He attended Stony Brook University in New York, earning a degree in 1992. Nehring has been a chairman of the of the San Diego Republican Party and the California Republican Party. He has also served on the Republican National Committee.

In 2005, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Nehring to the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, which he said has given him some experience to discuss forestry and timber-related issues.

When traveling through Crescent City on Sunday, Nehring said he was dismayed at the number of vacant storefronts. Even for a Sunday, Crescent City seemed unusually quiet, he said.

"The economic environment is driven by Sacramento, which has left Crescent City and Del Norte County behind," Nehring said. "The timber industry has been destroyed. We can have sustainable forestry practices that generate jobs and meet the needs of the county as it relates to timber products."

Nehring said unemployment numbers throughout the state are very uneven. He noted that the unemployment rate in San Francisco is about 4 percent, while farther north in Colusa County it's about 18 percent.

Nehring, whose journey took him through the Mojave Desert towns of Trona, Johannesburg, Adelanto and Victorville, said his travels have also taken him to Iraq, Bosnia, the West Bank, Morocco and Latin America.

"I've seen the most prosperous cities on Earth and the least (prosperous) on Earth," he said. "Too many times have I seen things in common with some places in California and the less prosperous countries."

If elected, Nehring would take steps to lower electricity costs, he said.

"It should be our objective to make the necessities of life as inexpensive as possible."

Nehring is running for lieutenant governor against incumbent Gavin Newsom. He isn't the only Republican candidate for state office to visit Del Norte County.

Matt Heath, who is running for California's Second Assembly District, visited the Del Norte County Jail, Pelican Bay State Prison and met with local school officials last week.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari will visit Del Norte for the Republican Central Committee's Farm to Table dinner on Sept. 6.

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