Ten candidates will vie, Tuesday, November 2nd, for three United States House of Representatives seats in The Argonaut’s coverage area, which spans from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Santa Monica.
District 30 includes Santa Monica and also Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Westlake Village, West Hollywood, and parts of West Los Angeles.
District 35 includes Westchester and also Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, and south central Los Angeles.
District 36 includes Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, and Venice. Other places in the district are El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Torrance.
n Henry Waxman, incumbent, Democrat.
Waxman was first elected to Congress in 1974. He was previously elected to three terms in the California State Assembly starting in 1969.
Since 1997, he has been the ranking Democrat on the Government Reform Committee, which is the main investigative committee in the House.
He was once chair of a Commerce Committee subcommittee on health and the environment and is currently a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
“I hope to continue my work on healthcare and the environment, and look forward to working with President Kerry if he wins,” Waxman said.
Waxman has used his Reform Committee position to oppose Bush Administration efforts to block congressional oversight and roll back health and environmental laws.
He also investigated White House ties to Enron, the energy industry’s closed meetings that influenced the White House energy plan, and filed a lawsuit to force the White House to release Census data that corrects a minority population undercount.
Other priorities are women’s health research and reproductive rights, AIDS funding, and California’s energy crisis.
“Electrical wholesalers gouged California,” Waxman said. “We asked vice president Dick Cheney to help the state, but he said environmental laws were to blame.
“The Bush Administration should try to insist that Californians who were overcharged get a rebate.”
He was one of the primary authors of the 1990 Clean Air Act, and sponsored the Ryan White CARE Act and the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act.
Waxman was born in Los Angeles, and he has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a law degree from UCLA.
He and his wife Janet have two married children and three grandchildren.
n Victor Elizalde, economist, Republican.
Elizalde’s top campaign issues are the economy, national security, and transportation spending. Another issue is runaway production and copyright protection in the entertainment industry.
He has several years of management experience at the major Hollywood studios and believes Waxman is not doing enough to protect the studios.
“My opponent is offering little meaningful action on the proliferation of copyright theft, eroding profits from the major motion picture studios,” Elizalde said.
Elizalde would also find ways to give tax rebates to keep Hollywood jobs within California or discourage U.S.-based productions from shooting overseas by tacking on tariffs.
He said illegal immigration is costly to taxpayers because incarcerating illegal immigrants “drains our resources.”
The issue also sheds light on the notion that security is lacking along the Canadian and Mexican borders. He would propose a new bill to immediately deport illegal immigrants.
The 30th district is surrounded by the Santa Monica (10), San Diego (405), and Hollywood (101) freeways, which are the most congested in the nation, Elizalde said.
“It takes two and a half hours to commute 22 miles from LAX to west San Fernando Valley,” he said.
If elected, he plans to invest in a private transportation system for the Los Angeles region. His goal is to model systems found in Europe and Asia.
“Our district desperately needs attention from the federal government,” he said.
Elizalde is a Chicago native, has a master’s degree in applied economics from the University of Michigan, and lives with his wife in Westwood.
n Maxine Waters, incumbent, Democrat.
Waters was elected to Congress in 1990 after serving in the California State Assembly starting in 1976. Previously, she was an aide/campaign manager for Los Angeles City Council member David Cunningham. She also worked for State Senator Alan Cranston and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.
She is the first African-American woman on the House Rules Committee and first non-lawyer on the Judiciary Committee.
“I used the time I was in office to fight for the residents of my congressional district and the working men and women of this country who do not have legions of well-paid lobbyists to represent them,” Waters said.
Waters remains on the Judiciary Committee and is also the chief deputy whip of the House Democratic Party, co-chair of the Democratic Steering Committee, and the ranking Democrat on a Financial Services Committee subcommittee on housing and community opportunity.
If reelected, she hopes to pass legislation to create American jobs and restrict government contracts for companies that outsource, provide more comprehensive prescription drug coverage for seniors, and stop LAX expansion.
“I will continue my efforts to stop the expansion of LAX and the displacement of residents, harmful emissions, noise, and traffic congestion,” Waters said. “Limiting the size of LAX and its impact on the environment is essential to maintaining the quality of life in the South Bay area.”
She also hopes to prevent the Los Angeles Air Force Base from closing and get federal assistance to preserve the Ballona Wetlands.
In the previous legislative term, Waters increased financial opportunities and housing for soldiers and their families, and obtained $14 million for highway projects and more than $7.1 million in discretionary funding for the 35th district.
Waters has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State University Los Angeles. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Sidney, former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas. She has two children and two grandchildren.
n Gordon Mego, mechanical engineer, American Independent Party.
“People’s needs are not being met,” Mego said. “Social Security is not really what politicians say it is. The baby boomer generation and the middle class have too many tax burdens placed on them.”
Mego said he has been active in local, county, state, and federal politics since he was 18. He is making a second run for the 35th district seat.
He lives with his elderly parents and has made Social Security a top priority in his campaign. He said the federal government is wrong to take money out of Social Security and use those funds to balance the budget.
“Current politicians are shortsighted,” he said. “They talk about fixing Social Security, but where they will get the money to do it will be very interesting to know.”
If elected, he would look at other countries that have working systems of public benefits as a model for the U.S.
Other issues that Mego hopes to deal with include trade policies that “give corporations financial incentives to outsource jobs and set up overseas tax havens,” and the LAX expansion.
He said both airport plans from Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn and Los Angeles City Councilmember Cindy Miscikowski include projects that will move terrorist threats away from the “contained central airport area” and into surrounding neighborhoods.
He is a member of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC), a local group that opposes LAX Master Plan Alternative D.
Mego calls himself a Jeffersonian Populist candidate. He was born and raised in Hawthorne, where he still lives, and has an engineering degree from El Camino College.
n Ross Moen, retired police lieutenant, Republican.
“We have to win the global war on terrorism,” Moen said. “I can do a much better job than Waters. She voted against the Patriot Act.”
He is running against Waters for the second time. In November 2002, Waters defeated Moen by receiving 78 percent of votes in the district. Moen acknowledged the fact that the district is heavily Democrat, but “I am persistent,” he said.
Moen was a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department for 39 years and spent one year of combat in Vietnam in the Army’s 101st Airborne.
As a member of California’s military reserve, Moen said he is currently very active in the state and Los Angeles area homeland security initiatives. He said spending $9 billion on LAX is too much money and current plans won’t secure the airport.
If elected, he also hopes to develop a rail system from the airport to downtown Los Angeles. “I agree with the environmentalists on transportation,” he said.
He said illegal immigration is costing the state millions in taxpayer dollars. “There has to be some type of better arrangement to deal with illegal immigration than to incarcerate” illegal immigrants.
Moen believes Waters has been ineffective in Congress because “her name is not on any bills recently.”
Moen lives in Marina del Rey and is active in local civic organizations.
n Charles Tate, small business owner, Libertarian. Tate could not be reached for comment.
n Jane Harman, incumbent, Democrat.
Harman is seeking her sixth House of Representatives term. She first ran for Congress in 1992 and served until 1998, when she campaigned in an unsuccessful bid for the California governor’s seat against then-lieutenant governor Gray Davis, who won in the Democratic primary.
She won back the 36th district in 2000 and again in 2002. Prior to the House, she was special counsel to the Defense Department and chief counsel/staff director for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee on constitutional rights. Harman also worked for the Carter Administration.
Currently, she is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and a member of the Select Committee on Homeland Security.
“Security is the number one issue worldwide and we still have a long way to go,” Harman said. “There needs to be bipartisanship in Congress. Terrorists won’t care whether we’re Democrats or Republicans when they try to attack us again.”
The Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles Air Force Base, and various aerospace and defense companies are all located in the 36th District.
If reelected, Harman would prevent the Air Force base from being closed in the next round of the Defense Department’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).
“The community is organized to defeat relocation of the Los Angeles Air Force Base for the fourth time,” Harman said.
As for other issues, Harman is proud of her “100 percent voting record” on women’s rights and choice, protecting the environment, and protecting human rights.
She attended public schools in Los Angeles, Smith College, and Harvard Law School. She has four children and lives in Venice with her husband Sidney.
n Mike Binkley, software project manager, Libertarian.
Binkley’s campaign is centered on “bipartisan time bombs.” He said Democrats and Republicans are “hiding issues that lurk in the political dark matter.”
He said there are serious problems with the education and prison systems that are unconstitutional and often ignored.
“Generation after generation, the children of low-income Americans receive the worst kindergarten-through-12th-grade education in the industrial world,” Binkley said. He calls the public education system “state-sponsored child abuse.”
The prison system is a “criminal scholarship program” because nonviolent drug offenders who are sent to jail “gain real criminal skills while incarcerated.”
“The bipartisan government has radically expanded these Harvard-priced scholarships, exploding America’s convict population from 200,000 in 1970 to 2.2 million today,” he said.
Binkley is encouraging voters to endorse “America’s Freedom Contract,” which calls for people to reclaim their lives and allow other Americans to reclaim theirs.
If elected, he wants to legalize marijuana because he says marijuana helps keep AIDS and cancer patients from regurgitating “the handful of pills they must try to swallow every day to stay alive.”
He lives in Torrance and works in the aerospace defense industry.
n Alice Stek, physician, Peace and Freedom Party.
Stek is an obstetrician/gynecologist and vice president of the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council.
She is campaigning for peace and international justice, a publicly-funded healthcare system, redistribution of wealth, elimination of the Electoral College, abolishment of the death penalty, and public ownership of utilities to protect the environment.
“The current representative has betrayed her constituents by supporting the invasion of Iraq and the Patriot Act,” Stek said. “There is a need for progressive candidates to demonstrate an alternative to the lesser-of-two-evils approach created by Democrat and Republican parties.”
If elected, Stek would work to repeal the Patriot Act and “end all interference in other countries’ internal affairs.”
She would also raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations. “They need to pay their share,” she says.
Other issues she supports are creating an environment-friendly mass transportation system and guaranteeing all workers a living wage.
“I hope to encourage others to voice their dissent,” Stek said. “Socialism can only be brought about when the working class unites and acts as a body in their own interests. I believe the majority of residents in the district are opposed to war and the erosion of civil liberties.”
Stek lives in Venice and is an officer in the Peace and Freedom Party’s state and county central committees.
n Paul Whitehead, schoolteacher, Republican.
Whitehead teaches seventh-grade English in the Los Angeles Unified School District. In 1988, he processed travel expenses for the George Bush/Dan Quayle White House campaign.
He is a Georgia native and moved to California in 1991. He has a master’s degree in political science from California State University Los Angeles. He lives in Los Angeles.
“I believe in people-based politics, not money-based politics,” Whitehead said. “I am inclusive to all political parties and think highly of the other candidates. If I am elected, my office will not be full of Republicans.”
He said he has wide support among schoolteachers and educators, and Democrats helped him get his campaign headquarters in West Los Angeles. Campaign priorities are illegal immigration, healthcare, and the Patriot Act.
As a teacher, he said he has seen class sizes get bigger and education quality drop because of illegal immigration.
He would like to extend Medicare and state health insurance to every child under age 18.
“I’m around children every day,” he said. “It’s a joy to be around children. No child should be left without healthcare.”
He would also, if elected, remove provisions in the Patriot Act that allow the government to have “virtually unlimited access to an individual’s library borrowing and book purchase history.”
“While national security is obviously important, the Patriot Act contains some provisions that are overboard and threaten personal rights and liberties,” Whitehead said.
He is also for protecting the environment, keeping jobs local and retraining workers for a changing economy, and getting government bureaucracy out of the local school decision-making process.
“I’m just a regular person, an underdog,” Whitehead said. “Politics doesn’t have to be about the wealthy.”