When Jane Harman abruptly resigned from Congress in February, three strong, smart Democratic candidates quickly emerged. All of them shared my progressive values. I had worked alongside each of them, and considered two of them to be friends. This was going to be a tough choice.
But as I considered this moment in history, the stark choices in Washington, DC, and the pressing issues facing Southern California, my choice became clearer and my conviction stronger. I decided to support Janice Hahn for Congress in the May 17 special election. Here is why:
1. Janice has a genuine plan to jumpstart the economy
Every candidate for Congress will tell us they intend to create jobs. Janice has told us – in remarkable detail – just how she plans to do that. With a keen understanding of the dynamics of the Southern California economy – and especially the unique opportunities in the 36th Congressional District – Janice published a plan to jumpstart the local economy, promote new businesses, invest in environmentally friendly technologies, and create a new skilled labor force.
You can read her plan in its entirety here: http://janicehahn.com/wp-conte…
2. Janice has a track record of creating jobs
With the national economy sputtering and with local unemployment nearing 15%, I want someone who has a history of creating jobs. For the past decade, Janice has consistently and successfully championed job creation:
***Janice aggressively pushed efforts to modernize (but not expand) LAX, which the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation says is helping to create nearly 40,000 jobs, generate $2.62 billion in worker income, produce $6.9 billion in revenue, and help the Los Angeles area recover from the ongoing recession.
***Janice pushed for a Clean Trucks Program to reduce dirty diesel pollution from trucks at the Port of Los Angeles. This led the Port to purchase new, zero-emission, heavy duty electric trucks, creating a new industry for the manufacturing of green, electric trucks in the Harbor area and the South Bay.
***When the largest new construction project in a decade at the Port faced a possible two-year litigation delay, Janice brokered an unprecedented deal to move the project forward, creating 4,000 new construction and 15,000 ongoing jobs, including jobs on the docks.
3. Janice speaks for the voiceless
I have worked in or near politics and government nearly my entire life. Rarely have I seen an elected official so forcefully moved to action by the plight of the poor and disadvantaged as Janice Hahn.
A few years ago, Janice heard first-hand the stories of the workers at hotels near LAX. She heard maids talk about how they were working two and three back-breaking hotel jobs so that they could feed their families. She heard waiters talk about management keeping the tips they earned working at high-dollar hotel banquets. Janice heard these workers – and gave them a voice at City Hall. Taking on powerful and deep-pocketed special interests, Janice introduced, fought for, and won legislation that secured a living wage for the workers, and made it illegal for management to steal their tips.
With Los Angeles and the nation increasingly polarized by extreme wealth and poverty, with special interests consolidating even more power over the economy, I want a congressperson with the courage to stand up for the powerless and speak for the voiceless.
4. Janice stands up for working women and men
With the ascendance of Tea Party Republicans, organized labor has been under siege. Wages are being cut. Benefits are being eliminated. The basic right to bargain collectively is being stripped.
In this climate, Janice has stood strong in behalf of working women and men.
She marched with, rallied with and supported airport workers, grocery workers, court interpreters, nurses, janitors, hotel and restaurant workers, communications workers, city and county employees and others, in the struggle for good jobs.
In a year when the very existence of unions is being threatened, organized labor has rallied nearly unanimously in this race behind Janice Hahn. As a progressive, I am proud to stand with labor unions and help send someone to Congress they trust to fight for their rights.
5. Janice understands our local economy
The 36th congressional district is home to three of Southern California’s most important economic engines: the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport, and the aerospace industry centered around Los Angeles Air Force Base. As the councilperson representing the port, as chair of the council panel overseeing the airport, and as leader of the city’s efforts to support keeping aerospace industry in the South Bay, Janice understands those economic engines better than any other candidate in the race. She’ll fight for them in DC.
Janice also knows how to balance the needs of the regional economy with the needs of the neighbors of the port and the airport. On the council, while championing LAX modernization, Janice has stood with the community to prevent airport expansion and has fought for community benefits for airport neighbors. She is an aggressive opponent of moving the runways north, a project that could decimate the downtown Westchester business district.
6. Janice understands the role of a congressperson.
Voting on legislation and attending committee meeting is only a small part of a lawmaker’s job. Janice knows that she can have a genuine, lasting and positive impact on people’s lives by focusing her efforts on helping people, solving problems, and completing projects. Just a couple examples of her results-oriented leadership style:
***As the councilperson representing the neighborhoods near the Port, Janice often met young children suffering from asthma, and spoke with parents scared for their children’s health and tired of frequent trips to the emergency room. Janice fought for her constituents, and secured $50 million for a Port Community Benefits Trust Fund. Hoping to cut asthma rates and reduce air pollution, money will be used for Wilmington-area schools to get air filters to protect students from air pollution from the Port.
***To reduce truck traffic and the density of truck emissions, Janice led the effort to increase efficiency at the Port by extending the gate hours into the evenings and weekends. This action led to more jobs at the Port, fewer trucks on the highways during the day, and reduced truck traffic impacts during rush hour and high travel times.
In some ways, this new jungle primary has given us an embarrassment of riches. Each of the three major Democratic candidates would be a strong progressive voice in Washington. But while their voting records would be similar, they would be very different congresspeople.
Marcy Winograd is a phenomenal activist and organizer. I trust she would be a prominent voice on foreign affairs, civil liberties, and corporate consolidation of power. Debra Bowen is a remarkable Secretary of State. She has championed voter integrity, and I suspect she would be the congressional expert on issues of Internet security, net neutrality, and personal privacy.
Janice Hahn has been a tremendous local lawmaker. She is a fighter who leads with her heart. In Congress, she would focus on the unique needs and challenges of the 36th District. She would be here every weekend, visiting our schools, meeting with small businesspeople, talking with the unemployed and underemployed, sharing the concerns of our seniors and our veterans. Janice will be here, listening, and finding ways to help people.
A passion for people. A focus on jobs. A proven track record. That’s why I am supporting Janice Hahn – a smart, progressive leader – for United States Congress. Please vote May 17.