CA-LtGov: Calitics Sits Down With Janice Hahn

For most of 2009 the two Democratic candidates for the Lieutenant Governor’s race in 2010 were State Senators Dean Florez (Fresno) and Alan Lowenthal (Long Beach). With anemic fundraising numbers, Lowenthal is likely expected to drop out.

However, a new candidate has tossed her hat in the ring – Janice Hahn, who represents San Pedro, Wilmington, and parts of South LA on the LA City Council. Already she seems well-positioned in the race – a poll by Fairbank, Maslin showed her leading the field with 24% of the vote, whereas Florez and Lowenthal had 8 and 7 respectively.

Over the weekend at the CDP E-Board meeting in San Diego, Brian Leubitz and I had a chance to sit down with Janice Hahn and talk about the race and some of the major issues facing the state, from water to economy to structural reform. I confess that, before last week, I knew very little about her at all. I know a lot about her now, and I was very impressed by what I saw in this conversation.

You can watch part of the interview at right; the full interview is over the flip. Some elements that stood out:

• She believes CA wants an outsider and not a legislator for the LtG spot, which she intends to use as a bully pulpit for economic recovery and protecting education. Previous LtGs “haven’t used the office well.”

• On education, she said “we cannot balance the budget on the backs of students.” She would vote against the proposed 30% UC fee increase at this week’s UC Regents meeting were she Lt. Gov. (one of the commissions the LtG sits on).

• She wants to promote economic recovery through job growth that includes new, sustainable, environmentally friendly work. She goes beyond the usual mantra of “green jobs” to explain that California needs to support apprenticeship programs that can offer employment options in a sustainable industrial economy to a broader range of people.

• Understands the needs of fishermen in water dispute, seeks a balanced solution to that issue. (Note: I didn’t get a chance to ask her about the proposed water bond, and would be curious to hear her answer.)

• Believes state government needs reform, but is nervous (rightly, in my view) about a Con-Con. Supports majority vote on budget and majority vote on local tax increases, as well as protecting local government from raids.

• Strongly supports high speed rail and is willing to be a strong statewide advocate for the project, something we currently lack.

Ultimately I think she is a very compelling candidate – not just for this office, but for California Democrats as a whole. Whereas Jerry Brown isn’t willing to offer a clear progressive path forward for the state, it seems Janice Hahn is very much interested in doing that. She is smart, personable, and seems to understand what California needs at this time. The Lt. Gov. office may have limited power, but Janice Hahn seems interested in using that power to its fullest, and using it as an opportunity to make a case for a better California.

She deserve a close, hard look by California Democrats and progressives. I think they will find much to like about Janice Hahn.

11 thoughts on “CA-LtGov: Calitics Sits Down With Janice Hahn”

  1. and had the same reaction as you did.

    I’d also like to add to the education comment that Hahn committed to attend all the UC Regents meetings. While this may seem like a basic pledge for someone running for an office that makes them an ex-officio Regent; two other ex-officio Regents, Superintendent Jack O’Connell and Speaker Karen Bass, have failed to commit to even showing up to Wednesday’s vote which could increase student fees by an additional 32%.

  2. that I’ve never looked at Janice Hahn and thought “Wow, what a bold progressive!”  And I’m not basing that on her campaign rhetoric but her legislative record.

  3. …I’ve always had a thing for Jewish chicks  (WTF w/ the blonde hair?)

    But her puerile platitudes encomnia  are so tiresome.  It reminds me a an old Garry Trudeau (sp?) observation about the left and the rights, one is philosophically anemic, the other morally bereft.  This retread embodies both.

    Whatever happened to our Leo McCarthys?  

  4. I live in San Pedro which is in Janice Hahn’s Council district.

    Janice has tremendous energy. She has a progressive vision and has fought hard for the living wage, hotel workers, and port truck drivers.

    I have seen her personally confront management that fired truckers who were trying to unionize. She shows true courage of conviction that is lacking in too many of our Democratic leaders.

    She also officially recognized San Pedro Neighbors for Peace and Justice, a grassroots group, that have been conducting peace vigils against the war each Friday in San Pedro since before the war started.

    I strongly support Janice’s bid for LG and encourage readers at Calitics to do the same.

    David Greene

    President, San Pedro Democratic Club

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