I'm a conservative who was born and raised in California. I moved to Arizona for political reason... - 5 minutes read

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Jayne Ashton, a 63-year-old retired police dispatcher who moved from Homeland, California, to Benson, Arizona, in 2017 to escape California's liberal politics and be closer to family. She only stayed in Arizona for three months before realizing she wanted to return home to California.

Jayne: I'm a born and raised Californian, originally from Bloomington in San Bernadino County. I stayed there until I was in my 20s.

I eventually settled in Homeland, California, where I lived for about 25 years. I reared my daughter there with my ex-husband and commuted 87 miles one way each day. I owned a home and lived on an acre and a half. I took my daughter to school with a pony and cart every day.

You see, California isn't what people think it is. When you say you're from California, they think of LA, San Francisco, and San Diego. But California is so vast. You can live out rural and live just as good as if you lived in Tennessee.

I'm a conservative and I'm always trying to hold down the red in this crazy state. I'm a retired police dispatcher and believe crime needs to be punished, and I don't think it is here in California.

It was politics and crime that initially got me thinking about leaving California around 2016 and 2017. The increase in high-density housing and traffic throughout the state played a part too.

Everybody was telling me California was going downhill and I needed to move. I was concerned the state was going to tax my retirement, which didn't end up happening. But I had a family member in Benson, Arizona, about an hour east of Tuscon.

So, I sold my house and I moved. It seemed like a mass exit at the time, so I felt the need to do it too. It was almost like fleeing sheep.

I chose Arizona because it was only a six-hour drive from California. But even as I was leaving, I was thinking it was a big mistake.

Benson, Arizona is in the middle of nowhere.

There's nothing out there but a Walmart, an Ace Hardware, and a Safeway. And there's only so much you can buy at Walmart.

I'm a vegetarian. I haven't eaten meat since 1969 and I was starving in Arizona. I would have to drive an hour to Tuscon to go to Whole Foods to get any food I was used to. People would say: "You're a weirdo. You've got to eat meat." In California, you can find vegetarian places all day long.

Benson, Arizona is located about an hour east of Tucson.

Paul Harris

I had money from selling my house and I initially wanted to buy a place in Arizona. But the houses I looked at fell through on inspection and I thankfully never did.

The state was good for me politically. A lot of people had the same beliefs as I do. But I don't live politics every day, and they did. I have it in the back of my mind but it's not a driving force for me.

People would always say to me: "Oh, you're a Californian? Well, I hope you don't bring your beliefs here." There was always some derogatory comment. They wanted to bitch about California. They don't want us there.

I'm also religious and I missed my church. I just wasn't happy. It was a dark cloud over me. I missed California every day. I only lasted three months in Arizona before moving back home.

When you're born and raised in California, you need to be in California.

It's like the Beach Boy's song, California Girls. It's an instilled trait. Californians don't always love other Californians, but we love California.

I ended up buying a house in Hemet, in Riverside County. It was all boarded up. It didn't have any electricity. It was horrible. But I was glad to be home. I'd rather live in a shitty part of California than live out of the state ever again.

I ended up living there for five years. I fixed up the house to some extent, sold it, and made a profit. Then I got the heck out of there and came to Tehachapi, where I've wanted to live since 1999.

Tehachapi is a lost treasure. It's one of the last conservative strongholds in Southern California. We have elk and deer and fox and everything. It's beautiful.

Ashton recently moved to Tehachapi, which she described as a hidden gem.

Matt Blank

California has a reputation for being very liberal. But if you were born in a place like Tehachapi or Clovis, you're so far from someone who was raised in LA. It's a very different mindset. We're more of a country-western-cowboy-cattle-type of people.

It doesn't necessarily bother me that everyone else in the country thinks of California as being only Los Angeles or San Francisco. I know what I believe and what I stand for. People shouldn't judge California by its big cities.

I love the beauty of the state and the stable weather. You can go to the beach in an hour, you can go to the mountains in an hour, you can go to the desert in an hour. You can't beat the topography.

I don't ever want to leave California again.

Source: Business Insider

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