The theme of my English courses this semester is "Writing About Local Issues." Currently, my students are writing essays about local politics. For many years, if someone were to ask me who my congressman was, or my state assembly person, or even city council, I would have shrugged my shoulders. In an effort to combat our collective ignorance about local politics, we are researching and writing about it.
Today, I showed my students a web site put out by The League of Women Voters called www.smartvoter.org. This is a great web site for learning who your local elected officials are. Before researching what they stand for or what they've done, we first have to learn their names. On the smart voter web site, you can type in your address, select the most recent election, and it will tell you who was elected. I typed in my address and shared with my students who my elected officials are, then I asked them to go to the library, learn who their elected officials are, and to write a paragraph about who they are most interested in, and might want to write an essay about. Here are my local elected officials, from congress all the way down to city council:
U.S. Senate: Dianne Fienstein, Barbara Boxer
Dianne Feinstein served as mayor of San Francisco from 1978-1988. Prior to that, she served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, alongside gay rights activist Harvey Milk, and it was she who discovered his body after his assassination in 1978. In 1992 she was elected to the U.S. Senate, a position she holds currently. She and Barbara Boxer were California's first female U.S. Senators. In 1994, she authored a 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004. She is married to investment banker Richard C. Blum, and in 2003 was ranked the fifth-wealthiest senator in America.
Barbara Boxer has served in the U.S. congress for 30 years. From 1983-1993 she was in the House of Representatives, and from 1993 to the present, she has served in the Senate. She is a democrat, and sits on four committees: The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Committee on Foreign Relations, and the Select Committee on Ethics. She voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"). She established the Excellence in Education award to recognize individuals making positive changes in education. She has written and co-sponsored various environmental legislation, like the Clean Power Act, and an effort to block oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She voted against the Iraq War, and is pro-choice. Because she's been in office so long, there is a lot more to learn about Barbara Boxer.
U.S. Representative (District 39): Ed Royce
Ed Royce has served in Congress since 1993. He is a member of the Republican Party and the Tea Party Caucus. He attended Katella High School in Anaheim and Cal State University, Fullerton. He is currently chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and sits on the Committee on Financial Services. He is against same-sex marriage, and has received a 92 percent rating form the Christian Coalition. Ed Royce is fascinating. I will probably write more about him.
State Senator (District 29): Robert "Bob" Huff
|Robert "Bob" Huff|
Bob Huff served on the Diamond Bar City Council from 1995 to 2004, and then was elected to the State Assembly from 2004-2008. In 2008, he was elected to the State Senate, and now serves as the Senate Republican Leader. He sits on the Senate Education Committee, the Joint Committee on Senate Rules, and on several other committees. He has sponsored legislation regarding charter schools and other education issues. In 2011, he was recognized by the Anaheim City Council as "Job Champion of Anaheim."
State Assembly (District 65): Sharon Quirk-Silva
Sharon Quirk-Silva is the only state or federal legislator whom I personally know. This is because she has served on Fullerton City Council, and as mayor of Fullerton. Sharon was elected to the California State Assembly in 2012, defeating incumbent Chris Norby. I believe she is the first democrat, the first female, and the first latina to win this position. Previously, she was the second Latino/a ever elected to Fullerton City Council. She has been a teacher for many years in Fullerton. Sharon, to me, represents the changing demographics of North Orange County.
Fullerton City Council: Bruce Whitaker, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Jan Flory, Doug Chaffee, Greg Sebourn
Bruce Whitaker was Senior Policy Advisor to former Orange County Supervisor/State Assemblyman Chris Norby for nearly ten years. He was elected to Fullerton City Council in 2010 and, along with Sharon Quirk-Silva, was NOT recalled in the 2012 Fullerton Recall Election. He is currently the Mayor of Fullerton, and sits on the Orange County Water District Board and the Santa Ana River Flood Protection Agency. He seems to be very interested in water.
Jennifer Fitzgerald is the founder and CEO of CL7 Communications, Inc, a political fundraising company. She has helped raise money for several well-known Republicans like Mitt Romney, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Meg Whitman, Ed Royce, and others. A graduate of BIOLA, she is active in her church (EV Free Fulleton) and is a member of numerous local groups like the Elks Lodge, the Chamber of Commerce, and the American Legion Auxillary.
Jan Flory served on Fullerton City Council from 1994-2002, and was recently elected in 2012, narrowly defeating incumbent Travis Kiger by 29 votes! It was a real nail-biter. She is a family law attorney in Fullerton. She is a native of New Zealand.
Doug Chaffee was, for a long time, a political underdog in Fullerton. He was a sort of "liberal" candidate in a generally conservative town. But his persistence paid off, and he was finally elected in 2012. He is currently the Mayor Pro-Tem, which I think means he leads council meetings when the mayor is absent. Chaffee is a lawyer, and has served in various groups in Fullerton, like the Fullerton United Way, the YMCA. He is a member of Friends of Jazz and the Sierra Club.
Greg Sebourn teaches Civil Engineering at Rio Hondo College, and was formerly the co-facilitator of the Survey/Mapping Sciences Program at Santiago Canyon College. He also works in the private sector for VA Consulting, doing surveying and mapping. Greg knows infrastructure!
Fullerton High School Board: Andy Montoya, Barbara R. Kilponen, Marilyn Buchi, Robert N. Hathaway, Robert Singer, Andrew Fraga. Some of these people have almost zero web presence, so it's hard to find decent photos or much info online.
Now that I know the names, and a little bit about them, I can begin researching and learning about these people who represent me, to decide if I should vote for them or not.