Meet Beth Krom, Democratic Candidate For Congress From The Heart Of Orange County
You know, California's Orange County ain't what it used to be. What it used to be was a white-bread, cookie-cutter, well-manicured suburban hellhole that was as right-wing and Republican as the suburbs of Deep South and Texan cities. That's all changed. The Bavaria of Republican politics which spawned the political careers of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan helped elect Barack Obama.
In 2008 Obama made huge strides in every part of O.C., beating Kerry's and Gore's vote totals by as much as 10 points in even the most reactionary backwaters. In the 47th CD, which Bush won twice, Obama took 60%. He also won the 44th CD-- another district where Bush had beaten Gore and Kerry-- and, though it was close, Obama even won in the heart of the county, the 48th. While the iconic place names (Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano) remain, while no one was looking the 48th CD has been changing steadily. GOP registration is down to 44%, and the district, still one of California's most affluent and best-educated, is also culturally diverse, with large Chinese, Korean, Persian and Indian communities. There are mosques and synagogues in an area once known only for mega-churches.
When Bush appointed longtime conservative knucklehead Chris Cox to a disastrous and career-ending term as chair of the SEC, right-wing apparatchik John Campbell won his seat with 60% of the vote. Two years later he beat the same Democrat, Steve Young, with 55%. This year Young has endorsed Beth Krom's race to take on Campbell, who has emerged as one of the worst of the Washington lockstep obstructionists-- a sponsor of both an English-only constitutional amendment and a teabagger favorite with his nonsensical Birther legislation. Much to the dismay of his constituents, Campbell has abandoned them entirely as he sought a national spotlight for extreme ideological purity divorced from responsible governance of any kind. Instead of lending a hand in cleaning up the mess his party made over the past eight years, he's crouching on the sidelines hurling stones at anyone who wants to move forward.
I contacted Beth and asked her to introduce herself to DWT readers, so we'd get an idea of who is running against one of the weakest of the Republican incumbents up for re-election in November. Below is that intro. You can find more information at her website, and if you'd like to contribute to her campaign, you can do it here, through ActBlue.
My name is Beth Krom. I have served since 2000 on the Irvine City Council, including four years as directly elected mayor. I am now a candidate for Congress in California’s 48th district.
I am often asked whether I always wanted to run for office. The truth is, I never really thought about it until our city was threatened with the prospect of a closed military base on our borders being converted into an international airport. After attending some city council meetings, it was clear that while there was plenty of talk, there was no real plan. Frustrated, I filed to run for city council four days before the filing deadline, won and was able to help stop the airport.
I can trace the roots of my political interest to my childhood. My father was a local anchorman in Buffalo, NY, from the early 1960s. I tell people that when I was growing up, if I wanted to see my father, I had to watch the news. Every night at dinner we would watch the news. Civil rights, Vietnam, the assassinations of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. It seemed that everything had political implications and undertones.
My mother was active in the League of Women Voters, and often took me to Common Council meetings. I remember canvassing with her for George McGovern. From my father I got the bigger view of the world. From my mother I got respect for civic activism and advocacy. From the times I grew up in, I got an appreciation for the impact that political events and decisions can have on a society.
I was fortunate to be raised by parents who encouraged us to think for ourselves and remain open to new ideas. I remember when serving in public office was considered honorable. When to win office you had to engage people directly. It wasn’t about slick marketing and the politics of personal attack. Candidates sparred with ideas.
It is frustrating to see how much political discourse has degenerated in America. Only in this line of work can people who have no respect for government win election to the institution. Can you imagine what it would it be like if schools were populated with teachers who hated education or courtrooms were filled with lawyers who hated the concept of justice? Yet an increasing number of elected officials at the federal level feel completely comfortable denigrating the institution in which they serve. Worse, their steadfast opposition to everything is designed to ensure the failure of government, thus validating their theory.
Such is the case with my opponent, John Campbell, whose campaign slogan is “Join the Resistance.” He represents an educated district with four coastal cities, most of the preserved open space remaining in Orange County, a major university, seven public school districts, an innovative business sector and one of the most culturally diverse and thoroughly integrated populations in America, yet he consistently votes against environmental initiatives, education funding, research and development and consumer protections.
Worse still, he’s signed an “anti-earmark” pledge, and considers any appropriation an earmark. So when Newport Beach needed federal funds to dredge out the Back Bay-- one of the few wetlands remaining in Orange County-- Campbell said NO. And when UC Irvine competes for federal grants to advance biomedical research or new technologies, Campbell won’t lift a finger to help. It doesn’t matter how meritorious the request, Campbell will not go to bat for his constituents.
Bottom line: we send billions of dollars to Washington in taxes every year, and he works every day to make sure not one penny comes back. If that’s not “taxation without representation, “ I don’t know what is.
During my four years as the directly elected mayor of Irvine, Mr. Campbell didn’t once come to City Hall, contact me about our city priorities, attend a public event or even send a letter of congratulations when Irvine was named “Safest Big City in America” four years in a row.
This is an educated district. As a co-sponsor of the “Birther Bill” challenging the legitimacy of the President’s birth certificate, Campbell is out of step with the people he represents. It’s time we had a real voice in our nation’s capital-- someone who understands how the decisions made in Washington directly affect our local communities. To win this race, we are building a broad coalition of support across all political, cultural and social spectrums.
When we win, we will prove that people and ideas are still more powerful than special interests and influence peddling in our democracy.