Republican Assemblyman Responds To California Budget With Extensive Spotify Playlist
No one can accuse freshman Assemblymember Randy Voepel of being a creature of Sacramento. The 66-year-old Vietnam vet was only elected to state office last year—after running unopposed, he now represents California's 71st Assembly district, which includes most of inland San Diego County and part of Riverside County. Before that, the staunch conservative served as mayor of the San Diego suburb Santee (population 53,413) after 40 years in the insurance industry.
Voepel, who thinks climate change is a good thing because "our enemies are on the equator," is now making waves for reasons having nothing to do with his far-right politics: the guy is killing it on Twitter.
On Thursday, Voepel owned us all when he responded to Governor Jerry Brown's "May Revise" state budget proposal with... a Spotify playlist. But unlike the passive aggressive sense-my-mood-by-the-songs-I-picked style Spotify responses favored by Every Dude I've Ever Dated, Voepel went a different route. This is Spotify playlist as ransom note, with the song titles LITERALLY SPELLING OUT his statement, and feat. artists as varied as Erykah Badu, Johnny Cash, The Shins, and Big & Rich. It is epic, to say the least.
And the Spotify playlist response is just one of many fantastic tweets from Voepel:
We reached out to Voepel's office to confirm that the @RandyVoepel account was, in fact, the real Randy Voepel (it remains unverified on Twitter) and were thrilled to hear that it is. According to the guy who answered the phone at Voepel's district office, the account is real and it's managed by Mason Herron, Voepel's chief of staff. "My boss likes to be different and he likes to do different things, and with that in mind, I applied that to the social media approach," Herron told LAist.
"He's a Republican—it's hard to get attention up here. And the way it works with Twitter where it's so noisy and there's so much going on, you really have to do something to stand out and get your voice heard, that's kind of the guiding vision we had when we started it," Herron said. "It's evolved from there, with some success. Even if we're not getting the message across, I think people are enjoying it. At the very least, we're providing entertainment." We would agree.
We also wondered whether the 66-year-old Assemblymember was even getting all the pop culture references "he" was tweeting out. "He's not innately familiar with some of them, but there's an ongoing discussion in providing context for a lot of it," Herron explained. "It's a collaborative approach."
While we praise the glory of his Twitter account, it should also probably be noted that Voepel has, as the Guardian summarized it, "a history of making bizarre statements about communism, homelessness and the environment, among other things." (He has compared homeless people to the Viet Cong, refers to Communists in China as "Chi-Coms" and believes "only about 1% of climate change is impacted by human beings. The rest of the 99% is solar cycles, the natural wobbling of the earth and volcanic activities.”)
It is possible that he is one of the greatest performance artists of our time. Part of what makes Voepel's Twitter account so brilliant is the subtle pairing of ordinary small town politician ephemera (grip-n-grin photos, corn dogs at the county fair, diaper drives) and totally nutso GIFs and memes. Here's a sampling:
We would also be remiss if we didn't mention that Voepel responded to Brown's State of the State address with an annotated Genius playlist.