By Jim E. Winburn
The race for the new San Gabriel Valley Foothill District is between Democratic Congresswoman Judy Chu and Republican challenger Jack Orswell, a Monrovia businessman.
These top two vote-getters from the primary are competing for the newly drawn 27th Congressional District seat, which includes Alhambra, Monterey Park, Temple City, Rosemead, Sierra Madre, and portions of Pasadena, Arcadia, and Monrovia.
In the June 5 Primary Election for California’s 27th Congressional District, Judy Chu (D-El Monte) received 50,203 votes, or 57.8 percent of the vote, and Orswell received 20,868 votes, or 24 percent, according to AroundTheCapitol.com.
Putting the district into further perspective, Democrats make up about 42 percent of registered voters, while Republicans nearly 29 percent. Voters who “decline to state” make up about 24 percent in the district.
Still, this hardly puts a face on this Congressional race for the Nov. 6 ballot. The issue at large, according to this reporter, is the local economy and jobs.
According to the 2012 Economic Forecast & Regional Overview report conducted by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s Kyser Center for Economic Research, employment in the San Gabriel Valley is only up by 0.9 percent from 2010, that is, an estimated 602,900 jobs for 2011. Employment in the region is still down by 46,700 jobs (a -7.2 percent) compared with 2008.
Because phone calls and emails were not returned by Congresswoman Chu’s office to discuss her take on the local economy, readers may access her solutions for jump starting the local economy from her website at JudyChu.org.
However, one notable gem from the Congresswoman’s Oct. 16 press release demonstrates her partisan faith in what economic policies the Obama Administration has decided for the rest of its members: “While Romney waffled, misled and lied his way through the debate, President Obama instead talked about his administration’s accomplishments over the last four years to rebuild our economy and restore middle-class prosperity…”
Though a Republican, Orswell has a different approach to this whole partisan business. Listening to recent graduates and self-employed individuals who are struggling to find work, but who are excluded from the official unemployment rates, Orswell said these individuals clearly want Congress to stop with the partisan fighting and adapt a genuine commitment toward reviving the economy and creating jobs.
As a small business owner in Monrovia for 22 years, Republican challenger Jack Orswell said never has he experienced a downturn in the economy that has taken so long to recover. He believes the economy will remain “sluggish” until members of Congress make long-term commitments on taxes and spending.
“The temporary tax cuts and delays in deciding how to reduce government spending are keeping consumers and businesses on the financial sidelines,” said Orswell, explaining that Americans are waiting to find out how much their personal income taxes may rise next year.
In addition, he said businesses are delaying the hiring of new workers because there are too many unknown economic factors appearing after January 1, 2013. According to Orswell, the economy will not grow until Congress clearly demonstrates to the American people a commitment to long-term economic growth.
“Most business owners are telling me they are barely hanging on and are very concerned that the costs associated with the new mandatory health care laws may force them to lay off employees, reduce employees’ hours, or shut their doors completely,” he said.
Now listening to voters is one thing, but responding to their needs begins with laying down some specifics and articulating a vision.
With this in mind, Orswell said his first priority would be to make tax cuts permanent until the tax code is reformed. This puts the burden on Congress to work together to find a real solution for the revenue problem, according to Orswell.
“While Congress struggles with a new tax code, we, as consumers and businesses, can then make financial decisions without the fear that the tax laws might change in six months,” he said. “Consumer confidence will rise and businesses will see an increase in sales.”
Secondly, Orswell said he would work with all members of Congress to develop a two-year budget. He said that a two-year budget would reduce many costs, while presenting a more realistic picture of where money is being spent. By beginning with a realistic budget, only then will elected officials be able to reduce the size of government and wasteful spending, he said.
More specifically, Orswell pointed out his commitment to a few of the San Gabriel Valley’s most important economic projects, saying he will work with Congress to keep the programs at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory funded and to get the Gold Line Foothill Extension completed to Ontario Airport.
“As a small business owner, I know what it takes to run a successful business and to create jobs,” said Orswell, highlighting the difference between him and his opponent Congresswoman Judy Chu.
Orswell said that Congresswoman Chu, out of 13 key votes over the past two years, voted against small business issues all 13 times, according to data gathered from the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
For more information on both candidates, visit their campaign websites at either JudyChu.org or JackOrswell.com.