In case any of you missed it, OCYD had its big endorsement meeting for the hotly contested primary race in the 42nd Congressional District on Thursday night. For once, both the Democratic candidates spoke directly to young Democrats in Orange County on the issues that young voters care about. It turned out to be quite an interesting night, and I think everyone was well-served by learning more about the two great candidates running to replace “Dirty Gary” Miller.
So why not follow me after the flip to find out what happened?
First off was a question to Chau on why he’d run in a district outside his own. (Montebello is in the 32nd District, about 5 miles away from the 42nd’s boundary.) Chau responded by stating that he’s the strongest candidate to expose Miller’s scandals, take on his corruption, and actually get elected. Oh yes, and Chau also promised to move to the district if elected.
Next off was the issue of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for both candidates. Shepston first answered by endorsing the “Responsible Plan” to end the war. He then said that the President should give an order to the generals the devise an exit strategy from Iraq while refocusing attention on regaining control of the violent turbulence in Afghanistan. “I want to listen to those that have a vested interest in the peace of the world,” Shepston said. Meanwhile, Chau stated clearly his Iraq policy when he said, ÃƒÂ’m in favor of an immediate withdrawal. It’s time to bring our troops home.” Of course, he said that in both cases of Iraq and Afghanistan, he’d work with the generals on the ground and ensure that our troops are fully funded and taken care of.
On the issue of LGBT rights, both favored equal rights for all. On choice and reproductive health, both stressed their support of a woman’s right to choose. On making college more affordable, Ed Chau stressed the need for partnerships with state legislators and the business community to reach solutions on higher education while Ron Shepston announced his support for a new GI Bill (to help military veterans afford college)and the need to “treat education like part of our infrastructure”.
When asked about the environment and preserving open space, Shepston admitted that he wasn’t sure of the “best way” to do so. He then stressed that he could bring people together to bring about solutions. And when asked about how to build a “green economy”, Shepston said he supported more research and development of clean energy, as well as doing something to get us all to use less oil. When asked about the environment, Ed Chau immediately announced his support for reducing CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. Chau talked about his support for clean energy, as well as a “green collar jobs” effort to create new jobs through research and development of clean energy. Chau even mentioned the need to get the rest of the world on board in solving the climate crisis and working through diplomatic channels to make it happen.
Soon after, both were asked about K-12 education and “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB)… And tensions rose. Ed Chau stated that he thought NCLB had “good intentions” in trying to ensure every student was proficient in reading and math, but that it was never fully funded and that it unfairly declared students to be “failures”. Chau even brought up how many schools in his own school distict were being listed as failures by NCLB, even though they were meeting state standards. Shepston then sharply disagreed with Chau, saying that NCLB only punishes schools and tries to force teachers to “teach to a test”… Basically opening the door to privatizing education.
More points of contention came during the final questions. When asked whether he could beat Gary Miller in the fall, Chau answered that only the voters could answer that question. Chau talked about how he was passionate about public service, and how he wants to go beyond the Montebello School board in being able to serve on a larger scale. Shepston, meanwhile, exclaimed “I don’t think I’m the better candidate… I know I’m the better candidate!” Shepston talked about how he understands GOP voters, and how he could reason with them. But when later asked how many doors he’s knocked on and how much money he’s raised, Shepston ran into some trouble. He admitted that “not many doors have been knocked”, but that he has a strategy to work around it. Shepston then said that despite early fundraising problems, he’s raising more money now and is spending 4 hours a day every day on the phone. Chau, meanwhile, talked about his weekend walks and his commitment to personally walking precincts three times a week. Chau then announced that his campaign so far has knocked on 10,000 doors, raised over $70,000, and gained the state Labor Federation endorsement.
After both candidates gave their closing arguments, the next round of fun began with the voting. All OCYD members were given ballots, and we all took a few minutes to vote. In the end, the OCYD endorsement was announced…
And Ed Chau received the endorsement. Congrats to the Chau campaign for the good presentation. Oh yes, and many thanks to the Shepston campaign for participating as well and giving us better insight into Ron’s plans for the 42nd. Both are good candidates, and both would do a much better job than “Dirty Gary” Miller.