Election night: a look at a congressional legend

Posted on November 6, 2012 by

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From 7 a.m. today until 8 p.m. tonight, millions of Americans will engage in their ultimate civic duty and vote for the president of the United States and various other local politicians and initiatives. While it would be foolhardy to project the results of the presidential race prior to polling results, the local congressional race for the 33rd district deserves special attention.

The race for the 33rd congressional district pits the long time United States incumbent Representative, Congressman Henry Waxman, against Bill Bloomfield, a wealthy registered independent from Manhattan Beach.

The race has been fairly atypical for Congressman Waxman, who has garnered more than 67% of the vote each of his five prior elections.  Mired by a slew of negative advertising, unparalleled campaign financing, and a newly redrawn district, the seat for California’s 33rd district has been hotly contested.

I recently had the privilege of attending an event with Congressman Waxman in Hermosa Beach, one of the new coastal towns now included in the 33rd district. The event was hosted at the Green Idea House, a project that aims to create affordable housing with net zero energy use. Rep. Waxman addressed a small group of attendees after a quick tour of the prototype home, reaffirming his commitment to efficiency, sustainability and the possibility for a symbiotic relationship between the private and public sectors.

All statistical analysis suggests that Congressman Waxman is likely to serve another term; indeed, Waxman is one of the most influential Democrats in Congress. With a distinguished career spanning nearly four decades in public service in the House of Representatives, he has become a fixture of local politics, particularly in West Los Angeles.

Congressman Waxman’s involvement in passing some of the most decisive pieces of legislation during his tenure, such as the Clean Air and Water Act and the Affordable Care Act, has boosted his profile. However, his national stature fails to reflect his true priorities — the communities that comprise his district.

Above all, the Los Angeles Jewish community has often found comfort in their congressional representative. A native Angelino, a UCLA alumnus and an active member of the Los Angeles Jewish community, Congressman Waxman has long reflected the voice and frustrations of the community in Washington.

Waxman has been an enduring presence; since he was first elected to congress in 1974, the local Jewish community has undergone a series of transformations and challenges. Several waves of Jewish immigrants served to drastically alter local Jewish demographics, and a couple deep economic recessions have threatened to undermine the community’s financial stability.

The community’s values, political tendencies and concerns have been a lasting presence in Congressman Waxman’s politics. From Israel-related policy to environmental concerns, Waxman has encapsulated the district’s primary concerns into a powerful display of the virtues of representative democracy. Whatever the results tonight, Rep. Waxman’s service to the many communities of Los Angeles area have been central to the narrative of the city’s evolution and maturity.

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