Shortly after President Barack Obama nominated my friend, Congresswoman Hilda Solis, to be our next Labor Secretary in December, I began to receive calls and e-mails from longtime friends and supporters urging me to run for her seat representing the 32nd District in the San Gabriel Valley.
I was humbled and honored by those calls, and I decided to heed them. After all, I have dedicated the last 23 years of my life to representing the people of the district, first on the Garvey School Board, then on the Monterey Park City Council and as Mayor, then the State Assembly, and most recently on the State Board of Equalization. The people of the San Gabriel Valley have elected me nine times over those past 23 years, trusting me to be their elected representative, and I hold that trust near and dear to my heart.
Those people know that I am part and parcel of the 32nd District, and that I am the most qualified candidate to advocate for their interests in Washington. The 75 elected representatives of the district who have endorsed me, including eight of the 10 local mayors of the district, know that I have spent the last two decades fighting for the issues that matter to San Gabriel Valley residents.
And they know that my proven skills as an effective negotiator and coalition builder are exactly what are needed to find solutions to the daunting problems facing not only our 32nd District residents, but our entire nation.
Tackling our disastrous financial crisis requires innovative solutions, like the landmark tax amnesty law I authored in the state Assembly to address our state’s budget deficit. That bill was originally estimated to bring in $300 million but ultimately collected $4.8 billion without having to raise taxes on working families and small businesses. It was the most successful tax amnesty in the nation in history.
I will bring that kind of out-of-the box thinking to Washington, and work on solutions that will help bring us out of our national economic crisis, while providing immediate relief to residents in my District. I will fight hard for the San Gabriel Valley’s fair share of infrastructure dollars, bringing federal dollars to projects like the Gold Line Foothill Extension from Pasadena to Montclair and the 10/605 freeway interchange upgrade.
Fully funding these crucial, ready-to-go projects will not only immediately generate hundreds of badly needed jobs and provide a jolt to the local economy, but they will also address the long-standing transportation issues of the Valley, saving residents and businesses the untold millions of dollars in productivity lost on our region’s gridlocked freeways.
But even before focusing on the crucial tasks of job creation and transportation infrastructure, my priority will be to address the ongoing foreclosure crisis by making sure local homeowners receive the necessary assistance and resources to keep them in their homes. The homeowners and working class families of the 32nd District, particularly residents of West Covina and Baldwin Park who have been hardest hit by foreclosures, deserve an immediate bailout, not Wall Street and the predatory mortgage lenders who led us into this mess in the first place.
I will also work hard to free our nation from its dependence on foreign oil by supporting the creation of “Green Collar” jobs that will help us battle global warming and put our men and women in secure, well paying jobs that will not be out-sourced. These Green Collar jobs will focus on renewable energy production, solar power panels, and retrofitting of our nation’s infrastructure to reverse the environmental damage wrought on our communities.
Locally, some of these Green Collar jobs will inevitably go toward cleaning up our contaminated drinking water, a sad legacy left over from the days when the San Gabriel Valley was an aerospace industrial center. As a result 136 of our local wells in the 32nd District have been shut down due to rocket fuel contamination, and local officials have spent the past two decades and hundreds of millions of dollars building plants and other water treatment facilities to render our water drinkable again. Much more work is needed to finish the job, and I will continue Congresswoman Solis’ efforts to secure the funds needed to bring those wells back online.
Finally, I will continue to champion increased access to education, a legacy that I have carried on since my days as a community college teacher in East Los Angeles. I will fight for working class families by ensuring that everyone has access to affordable and quality healthcare. I will continue my efforts to protect the rights of workers, just as I did in the California Legislature when I authored bills to provide heat protection for farm workers. And I will work to protect immigrants through bills like the one I authored as an Assemblymember to require that contracts be written in the same language they were negotiated in.
I consider it the greatest honor of my lifetime to have been elected time and time again by my fellow residents in the San Gabriel Valley, first at City Hall, and then in Sacramento. Their issues are my issues, and I will continue to be a most trusted servant and tireless advocate for the people of the 32nd District if I am granted the privilege of representing them in Washington D.C.
Dr. Judy Chu was elected to the California State Assembly on May 15th, 2001. She represents a Southern California district in the San Gabriel Valley that includes the cities of Alhambra, El Monte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, South El Monte, San Gabriel, and San Marino. She is running to replace Hilda Solis in Congress who was just confirmed as Secretary of Labor.