REP. HENRY WAXMAN, a 37-year member of Congress, is seeking his first term
representing the newly drawn 33rd
Congressional District.

After nearly four decades in Congress, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Santa Monica) has carved out a long list of legislative accomplishments, but he has also developed a reputation of being a legislator who has strong core convictions. Supporters of the congressman feel those qualities will help shepherd him through perhaps the most competitive race of his career.
A member of Congress since 1975, Waxman, if elected Nov. 6, will represent a new district after 37 years in the tony former 30th Congressional District, which included Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. The newly created 33rd is comprised of Marina del Rey, Venice and Santa Monica as well as the northern portion of the South Bay.
Demographically, the 33rd is 44 percent Democratic and 28 percent Republican.
In the new district, which came about due to redistricting two years ago, Waxman is pitted against Bill Bloomfield, a Manhattan Beach businessman and former Republican who is running as an independent.
Because of an initiative in 2010 that is now part of the state’s constitution and effectively bans primaries, the top two candidates for office square off in the general election. Waxman and Bloomfield placed first and second respectively in June.
The congressman is counting on voters in the new district to examine his record and the types of laws he has worked on that have been enacted before casting their ballots.
“I’ve accomplished a lot since I’ve been in Congress,” Waxman began during an interview at his Beverly Hills campaign office. “For me, it’s been an opportunity to get things done for as many Americans as possible.”
Waxman has been visiting the 33rd District in recent weeks and says some of the concerns that his constituents from his previous district have will also follow him into the new district if he is elected: protecting the coast from pollution, air quality at the Santa Monica Airport and transportation.
“I feel like I have been representing Venice already because of the (Santa Monica Airport),” he said.
Venice residents have for years complained about the noise from the airport as well as the safety aspect of airplanes that take off over their community.
On Oct. 23, Waxman asked the acting director of the Federal Aviation Administration to push for increased use of unleaded fuels to reduce toxic lead emissions from general aviation aircraft, particularly in airports with close proximity to residential areas like the Santa Monica airfield.
Martin Rubin applauds Waxman’s decision to weigh in on leaded fuel at the general aviation airport. Rubin is the executive director of Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, which has been battling the federal government as well as the Santa Monica City Council over the emissions emanating from the city-owned airport.
But Rubin is somewhat disenchanted about what he thinks is the congressman’s failure to address emissions from the airport.
“Rep. Waxman’s letter to the FAA urging them to speed up the process of getting the lead out of aviation gasoline is an example of his ability to speak out regarding Santa Monica Airport neighbors’ concerns,” he said. “However, he has not taken action calling for the elimination of toxic jet emissions that are a very serious public health threat. I have to ask why.”
While he is dismayed that the former Venice Post Office has been sold to Hollywood producer Joel Silver, Waxman is hopeful that another historic post office in Santa Monica that is also slated for closure can be saved.
“We’re appealing that decision and I hope that we can still reverse it,” he said.
On Aug. 10, the congressman held a press conference at Pepperdine University in Malibu to inform his constituents of the actions that he and his fellow Democrats in Washington had taken over the last two years to combat what he called “anti-environmental” votes by House Republicans.
“Protecting our coast should be a national priority,” Waxman told the audience. “Yet the House Republican assault on coastal waters, marine life and the environment has been relentless.”
Waxman cited examples such as efforts that included 26 votes by Republicans to allow offshore drilling operations to meet weaker environmental and safety standards, voting 24 times to block action to address climate change and 20 times to undermine federal Clean Water Act programs and protections for coastal areas.
He offers his resistance to those attempts as evidence of his stewardship on environmental policy, as well as his work on passage of the Clean Air Act of 1990, and regulations pertaining to food and safe drinking water.
Waxman dismisses the assertion by Bloomfield, a former Republican who is now registered as declined to state, that he has been too partisan.
The congressman said the last Congress was the most partisan that he had ever seen and feels Bloomfield’s proposed methods of governing are not the prescription for working in tandem legislatively.
“The way to solve this is not through a redistricting commission or having the top two candidates run off against each other,” he said. “The way to solve this is to find areas where there can be compromise.
“Unfortunately, the Tea Party right wing radicals don’t believe in compromise.”
He pointed out that Bloomfield has continued to support Republican causes even though the challenger now says he is non-partisan.
“Ironically enough, even after he switched from being a Republican to becoming an independent, he gave money to (Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney) and to Republican House and Senate campaigns,” Waxman noted. “It’s perfectly fine to be a Republican, but I just don’t think it’s appropriate to pretend you’re something that you’re not.
“I have to run on my record and his has been a record of support for Republicans.”
While there are many who portray longtime members of any governing body as a direct causation of stagnation, there are others who believe that having the benefits of seniority and familiarity with the inner workings of Washington can be a plus in governance, as well as the ability to deliver the proverbial bacon for one’s constituents.
The congressman said he found it amusing that Bloomfield has depicted himself as being someone who can go to Washington and in two years bridge the partisan gap. “If I were told to go run a coin operated laundry business, I think I’d need to learn a little more about it,” he said wryly. “You just don’t walk in and start running things.”
Bloomfield inherited his father’s commercial laundry equipment business and worked in that field for 15 years before turning to politics.
Waxman says he enjoys seeing the benefits of legislation that has been passed in the faces of his constituents as he did at a Sept. 24 press conference in Santa Monica on the landmark Affordable Care Act, of which he was a principal sponsor. One UCLA student, Daniel Bock, thanked him for his work on the federal health care law, which will allow Block’s sister, who has a rare neurological disorder, to get insurance despite her preexisting condition.
“That’s one of the things that I enjoy the most about my job,” Waxman concluded. “Seeing how the bills that I’ve helped get passed affect people in their everyday lives. And that’s why I’m running again.” §