U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, is running for re-election to the newly redrawn 28th Congressional District, which includes Montrose-La Crescenta.
The Massachusetts native was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives 11 years ago. One of his first committee appointments was to the House International Relations Committee, upon which he served for six years. In March 2003, he co-founded the Democratic Study Group on National Security, and in 2005 was appointed to the House Democracy Assistance Commission, which works with burgeoning democracies to bolster democratic institutions and the rule of law.
Schiff also has acted as co-founder of the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press. He serves on the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counterintelligence and sits on three subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee, as well as the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel.
In addition to Montrose-La Crescenta, the newly redrawn district includes La Canada Flintridge, Glendale, Burbank, Silver Lake, Hollywood and West Hollywood. Challenging Schiff's seat are Sal Genovese, Phil Jennerjahn, Jonathan Ryan Kalbfeld, Garen Mailyan, Massie Munroe and Jenny Worman.
Here are the six questions Patch asked the incumbent congressman:
1. You picked up some communities and lost some communities in the recent redistricting. How do you think that redistricting will impact the state's representation in congress?
There will be a dramatic change to the California delegation in Congress. Many long-standing members, like my colleagues David Dreier and Jerry Lewis, have announced their retirements. Others, like Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, have been forced to run against each other. For me, the change has been bitter sweet. I am delighted to once again have a chance to represent the Foothill communities of Montrose, Crescenta Valley, Sunland, Tujunga, La Canada and other areas that I represented before the last redistricting. At the same time, it is quite sad to lose many communities I have come to know and love over the last fifteen years. But I think the redistricting commission did a commendable job keeping most communities of interest together and meeting the requirements of the Voting Rights Act.
2. What are your thoughts on the open primary, being that it's the first time the state has had one?
I have been a supporter of an open primary system that would encourage candidates of both parties to work in a more bipartisan fashion. But I do have some concerns about the particular open primary model we have adopted and think it could have some interesting and unintended consequences. If a very conservative district attracted several Republican candidates but only two Democrats, it is entirely possible that the GOP vote would be diluted and no GOP candidate would make the general election. While I might like this result, the converse would also be true where multiple Democrats splinter the vote in a progressive district leading to two GOP candidates in the general. The result in either case might be a winner who did not represent the views of a majority of constituents. So we will have to see how it works in practice. If the combination of redistricting reform and the open primary produces elected officials more interested in finding common ground than beating each other up, it will have been well worth the risks.
3. What do you consider your greatest success so far this term?
One of the most satisfying moments of this Congress for me was the November 2011 ceremony to present the Congressional Gold Medal to the “Go For Broke” Regiments, a group of Japanese-American soldiers who fought valiantly in WWII even while their friends and families were suffering from prejudice back at home in the U.S. Meeting these incredible men, now late in life, and having the opportunity to offer them a long overdue thank you for their service on behalf of a grateful nation, was a true highlight for me. Back in 2008, I introduced the legislation awarding them the Gold Medal, one of our nation’s highest civilian honors, and worked hard to get it to President Obama for his signature. The award ceremony last year was a wonderful culmination of years of work for a group that couldn’t be more deserving, and was one of those rare issues in the last few Congresses that elicited overwhelming bipartisan support.
Of vital importance to our local area, I was proud to work with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to secure $88 million in additional funding for the Mars program. By working together with my colleagues, we were able to restore this vital funding to ensure the future exploration of our solar system, including a mission to Europa, is properly funded. But this fight is not over, and my hope is that when we go to conference committee that we restore even greater funding for JPL and planetary science.
I am also very proud of the work I have done to accelerate the Gold Line light rail -- creating many thousands of much needed jobs -- and my legislation establishing the Rim of the Valley Study presently being undertaken by the Department of the Interior to preserve open space in the mountains that surround us.
4. What was your biggest challenge this term?
The constant partisan bickering in Congress, at a time when there are so many important issues that urgently require action, can be dispiriting. I have always tried to find areas where we can work together, and there are many, but the atmosphere has become so poisonous that it is imperiling the important work of the nation. One bright spot for me has been my work on the Intelligence Committee. There, we have been able to work in an admirably collegial and nonpartisan fashion. Of course, it’s also the only Committee where TV cameras aren’t allowed. I don't think it's a coincidence that in the one environment that doesn't permit grandstanding, we are the most productive.
5. Now that La Cañada and Montrose- La Crescenta are part of your district, what sort of community outreach would you do if elected?
My office has always been heavily focused on constituent services and outreach, and that will certainly continue and expand with the new areas. Being a representative means getting out into the local community, meeting with a wide variety of constituents, community groups and businesses to figure out what the important local concerns are, and also what I can do to help implement new ideas. I am fortunate to have represented the Foothills in the past, and I'm looking forward to renewing old aquaintenances and meeting many new friends. We will do townhalls, telephone townhalls, meet and greets, school visits, business visits, one on one meetings, online e-newsletters, Facebook and Twitter -- using every means of staying in touch.
6. Do you think the federal government needs to do more to help fund large transportation projects such as the Gold Line Extension and High Speed Rail? Why or why not?
The federal government, along with local and state governments, should be investing in transportation projects that will create badly needed jobs in the hard-hit construction industry, that will repair our aging infrastructure, and that will provide for the clean and efficient movement of goods and people. On the local level, I have argued for federal investment in the Gold Line light rail extension and I have been a strong supporter of the Alameda Corridor East project to improve the movement of goods from our busy ports. These are vital additions to our infrastructure and are also a jobs multiplier for our economy. I hope that we can work out the remaining issues with High Speed Rail -- California, with its size and population, is ideally structured for such a rail and it galls me that most other industrialized nations have built them while we struggle on. But I recognize the need to control costs and address the many questions that have been raised.