October 15, 2014
For the first time in four decades, voters in California’s 33rd Congressional District are about to elect a congressman other than the remarkably productive and nationally recognized Rep. Henry Waxman.
Stretching from celebrity-studded Malibu, Beverly Hills and Hollywood down the coast, through what’s dubbed Silicon Beach, to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the Democratic-leaning district is influential and a fundraising gateway for the party.
Its politics are progressive and its wallets are largely flush.
It’s not a coincidence that President Barack Obama stopped by the campaign offices of Democrat Ted Lieu, a California state senator and candidate for Congress in the 33rd District, on his latest fundraising swing in the Southland.
Lieu is a fixture in South Bay politics and a favorite to win. He has served nine years in the California Assembly and Senate. And as the Los Angeles News Group editorial board pointed out before, he is a progressive Democrat but does not vote the party line as a matter of course.
He is independent enough to have been one of two Democrats in the state Senate to join Republicans in voting to suspend two Democratic colleagues for serious ethical breaches.
He is also the right man for the congressional job.
His opponent, Republican Elan Carr, a military veteran and Los Angeles County prosecutor, is a political novice who lacks Lieu’s savvy.
But Lieu will have to turn on the overdrive in the coming years as he navigates the polarized Congress where Waxman’s legacy looms large.
Waxman’s persistence helped him pass several pieces of landmark legislation including the Ryan White Act, funding AIDS treatment, and the Clean Air Act. But Waxman personally told Lieu that climate change was one area where he felt his work was left unfinished. Lieu hopes to pick up the torch there by pushing a national cap-and-trade program.
A Taiwanese immigrant who served four years in the U.S. Air Force and is a lieutenant colonel in the reserves, Lieu supports scaling down the size of the standing Army.
As a congressman, he said, his litmus test for foreign intervention would be asking “what’s next?” after military action. The biggest threat he sees in the Middle East is Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
He opposes the wide collection of data by federal agencies. As a state senator Lieu coauthored SB 828with Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Temecula, that bans California agencies from aiding the federal government in obtaining residents’ phone and Internet data without warrants.
Among his top priorities are being a strong advocate for the region’s aerospace industry and addressing the ballooning debt of college graduates.
He supports the Obama administration’s call for a $10.10 national minimum wage.
Lieu is no Waxman, at least not yet. He says he told his wife that should he win the seat that even without Waxman is widely considered safely Democratic, his goal will be to live as long as he can; he knows it took Waxman many years and victories in many hard battles to gain his reputation and pass the important legislation he did.
Lieu is well-prepared to represent the 33rd District. We recommend a vote for him on Nov. 4.