If a non-partisan political strategist were to design the perfect candidate for California’s 25th U.S. House district, they’d probably come up with someone who looks a whole lot like Christy Smith, the current Democratic candidate for that seat. Smith is running in one of California’s most purple districts — the last House district in either Los Angeles or Ventura County to be represented by a Republican. The voter registration is 39% Democrat and 32% Republican with the remaining 29% no-party preference or third party.
In both her personal history and her approach to politics and legislating, Smith’s portrait is a nearly seamless mixture of blue and bipartisan purple. The daughter of a U.S. Army officer, Smith was born on a military base in Europe but her family soon settled in the Santa Clarita Valley. Like many other local families, Smith’s lived paycheck to paycheck — and when Smith’s mom decided to flee her abusive marriage, she studied and became a nurse.
Smith attended UCLA and then worked in Washington, D.C., as a policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Education. Then she and her husband came home to the Santa Clarita Valley where they raised two daughters. Smith became a “PTA mom,” founded an educational foundation, and served on a local school board before her election to the California Assembly’s 38th District in 2018. She flipped that previously Republican seat at the same time that Katie Hill flipped CA-25 blue — and the two women often hit the campaign trail together in that year’s record-breaking season of victories for women candidates.
Smith is a product of CA-25, and she’s spent the bulk of her educational policy and political career working for the district. A pragmatic progressive, she holds forward-focused views on many issues but shows a principled willingness to work with her Republican colleagues to pass legislation that benefits CA-25 residents.
So why didn’t Smith win the May 2020 special election runoff to fill the balance of Katie Hill’s term? And why is she locked in a seesaw battle with interim House Rep. Mike Garcia, an extreme right-wing Republican? To put it simply: Garcia and the Republicans keep lying about her. Instead of repeating their lies, let’s take a look at what she has done in Sacramento for the people of her district.
Smith stood up to her own party in 2019 when Democrats tried to raise taxes on small businesses and families. She also led efforts to amend AB5, known as the “gig-work bill,” which entitles workers classified as employees to certain benefits and job protections. She wanted to make sure that self-employed workers in a number of industries where full-time employment isn’t the norm (e.g., freelance writers) were not impacted by the bill.
She has consistently supported public education. She wrote and passed legislation to ensure private charter schools in California are held to the same transparency and accountability standards as our public schools. Even on the Newhall School Board, she fought for funding when teachers faced layoffs due to the economic downturn in 2012.
As the daughter of a career Army officer, she has spent her professional life advocating for our military. She pushed to make it easier for veterans to start small businesses and for needed improvements at the Veterans Administration, to ensure that our veterans receive the care and benefits they earned.
In other local matters, she has been active for years in the effort to shut down the methane-belching Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field. She wants to conduct aggressive oversight of the district’s two toxic waste cleanup sites and its three landfills.
Smith carries her values on her sleeve in her House campaign. One of her first actions as a congressional candidate was to sign on to the California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus’s no-fossil-fuel-money pledge. Because she wants big money out of politics, she supports legislation to overturn the Citizens United decision and she has refused all campaign donations from big pharma, big oil, the gun lobby, the tobacco industry and corporate PACs.
In early September The Los Angeles Times endorsed Smith writing that Congress needs “more lawmakers like Smith who quietly work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make government better.” Smith has pledged to work with any willing partner on issues important to all Americans, like rebuilding the small business economy devastated by the pandemic and advocating for tax reform to make wealthy Americans and corporations pay their fair share. She also wants to ensure that our services remain strong for all Americans. That means making health care coverage affordable and readily available, protecting coverage for people with preexisting conditions, and lowering the costs of higher education. She also promises to defend Social Security and Medicare from those who seek to gut those earned benefit programs.
One issue is particularly important to California residents; she will fight to reinstate the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction — removed in the GOP tax bill — which would lower taxes for California families by as much as $12,000. She also sees climate change as not only an existential crisis but through an economic lens, so she will work to create good middle-class, green energy jobs in the district by focusing on environmental technology.
Garcia has a brief but highly illustrative voting record from his three months in Congress; he’s voted with Donald Trump more than 90% of the time, including voting against extending ACA protections and unemployment insurance under the CARES Act during the pandemic. But he did write his CA-25 constituents to praise the House for voting to protect the U.S. Postal Service from Louis DeJoy’s politically motivated operating “improvements” — while failing to acknowledge that he’d actually voted against the legislation.
A September poll gave Garcia a one-point lead, but the most recent polling shows Smith with a six-point lead, and in October the two candidates will go head-to-head in a pair of debates that could impact the race. Seems it’s anyone’s game. But it’s crystal clear which of the two candidates will work for the people of California’s 25th House District. The choice is clear. To learn more about Christy Smith and support her campaign, visit her website.
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