California is a unique place. We tout our “California values” as well as pride in our diverse population of more than 39 million people. To make government work for all of us, we need to find office holders who represent everything for which we stand. Ammar Campa-Najjar, running in the 50th Congressional District which comprises parts of San Diego and Riverside counties, is exactly who California needs today. The son of a Palestinian father and a Mexican mother, Campa-Najjar once said that he was not “Arab enough in Gaza, Latino enough for the barrio, or American enough in my own country.” His personal story makes him an ideal candidate for California.
On his campaign website, Campa-Najjar calls himself “the people’s candidate,” and he truly understands the needs and struggles of hardworking American families in California. He was primarily raised by his working-class mom, with help from family and neighbors, and his first job was as a church janitor. He became a deputy field director for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign and spent the next six years in the Obama Administration, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Labor. He decided to jump into the political arena to answer the call to service Obama issued in his Farewell Address. Speaking of the younger generation, Obama said: “You believe in a fair, and just, and inclusive America. . . . You are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. . . . I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change—but in yours.”
Campa-Najjar has campaigned on improving the Affordable Care Act by having Medicare negotiate pharmaceutical prices, adding a public option, and allowing people as young as 50 to buy into Medicare. He also is a staunch advocate for unions, federal investment in apprenticeship jobs, and programs for small businesses owned by minorities, women, immigrants, and veterans. His platform also includes passing a clean Dream Act, investing in renewable energy, and overturning Citizens United. “While extremists in Washington vote to take healthcare away from us, undermine Social Security and Medicare, and attack women’s rights, I’ll stand up for our families and work with members of both parties for common sense solutions,” he stated.
Campa-Najjar is known in the 50th District because in 2018 he ran against then-incumbent Duncan Hunter. (Hunter was under inctiment during the 2018 election for stealing from his campaign and then covering up his actions, and is now serving an 11-month sentence in federal prison.) The 29-year-old Campa-Najjar lost by only 3.5% in this staunchly Republican district. Now he is back for a second try, this time going against Republican Darrell Issa. (Issa, facing a difficult election and months-long protests from his constituents over his votes siding with Trump, retired in 2018 after 16 years of representing the 49th District in Congress. He then “unretired” to run again this year in a race that was assumed to be easier for a Republican to win.)
This time around, Campa-Najjar has the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which added him to their “Red to Blue” program in August and will help him flip the district. A poll taken this month shows the candidates locked in a statistical tie. In a debate on Thursday night Issa, once the wealthiest member of Congress expressed his opposition to more PPP loans, while Campa-Najjar-Najjar said, “What I would do is invest in PPP loans for small businesses, not those who are well off and well connected in corporations, but those small businesses that employ half of American workers.”
Californians and the 50th District deserve better. They can find that with Campa-Najjar.
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