Californians agree: Economy number one problem

The message was loud, clear and bleak Sunday as hundreds gathered at Sacramento State to hear out dozens of candidates in one of the biggest bipartisan election forums in the state this year.

The economy remains weak, countless candidates said, budget cuts are decimating government services, and creating jobs is priority No. 1.

They also delivered plenty of attacks on rival candidates for failing to do enough about unemployment.

"We know what it takes to create jobs," said Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina as she kicked off the forum held by the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association. "Make it easier, not harder for small businesses."

About an hour later, Democratic U.S. Congress candidate Ami Bera, who's challenging incumbent Dan Lungren in California's 3rd Congressional District, delivered the same message about the economy in an interview with The Bee.

"That is the No. 1 issue," Bera said. "With regard to the economy, it's going to be about creating jobs. It's ... allowing small businesses to start hiring again."

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