John Cox is an outsider in more ways than one.
The Republican candidate for governor is not from California and has never held political office, despite running a number of times.
"I'm a businessman through and through," Cox said at an event for Republican women voters.
"I started with nothing and I built a business that's now worth over $200 million," Cox told FOX40. "I've bought businesses and turned them around."
Originally from Chicago, Cox has called San Diego County home for the past decade.
But why is a successful businessman so willing to run for governor?
"I have had the positive view that business people can solve problems," he said. "We need to turn around this state and make it a state of opportunity."
Cox says he'll do so by imposing more capitalism at the Capitol.
"The best way to prosperity is a free market system. The best way to affordability is more competition, more supply. That’s when we’ll get better health care, that’s when we’ll get better schools, that’s when we’ll get better housing. That’s a better quality of life," Cox said.
Crumbling infrastructure and a massive housing shortage are just a couple of the critical issues awaiting California's next governor. Cox believes the only way forward is to cut the red tape.
"We remove the impediments. We remove regulations or we streamline regulations that have prevented it," he said. "We get rid of this endless litigation that delays housing. That makes it more expensive."
But that could be a tall order for a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature. If there’s an impasse, Cox says he’ll use the bully pulpit and veto power, but also plans to introduce reforms to change campaign rules, especially when it comes to finance.
"We have the best legislature money can buy," Cox said. "Give us a legislature that really is accountable to the people, that allows normal people to run. What we get now are professional fundraisers."
Cox has also been a key player in the effort to repeal Governor Brown’s controversial gas tax and also strongly opposes California’s so-called sanctuary state law, which he feels isn’t needed.
"Absolutely not. We should have security. We should have law enforcement working together. We should not have people being released onto the streets without informing ICE," he said.