View Original Notice ? What candidates for the 31st Congressional District say on the issues
The last time Rep. Grace Napolitano had a close race for Congress was in 1998 when she defeated attorney Jamie Casso in the 1998 Democratic primary election. And it remains to be seen if this year’s June 7 election will be any different.
This year’s race features Democrat Roccco Anthony De Luca, a construction project manager from Azusa, and Republican Daniel Bocic Martinez, an attorney and high school teacher from Monrovia. (Erskine Levi, a social studies teacher from Glendora, who designates no party, is trying to qualify as a write-in candidate.)
The 31st Congressional district — after reapportionment in 2021 — includes the cities of Azusa, Baldwin Park, Covina, Duarte, El Monte, Glendora Irwindale, La Puente, La Verne, Monrovia, San Dimas, South El Monte and West Covina and unincorporated areas of Avocado Heights, Bassett, Charter Oak, South San Jose Hills and Valinda.
Napolitano, D-El Monte, has raised more than $121,000 while her two opponents report no money raised as of March 31, according to Federal Election Commission records.
There are some key differences between the three candidates running for the top two spots that will be on the Nov. 8 general ballot.
The challengers in telephone interviews last week don’t necessarily blame Napolitano specifically but all seek change.
“I have nothing against Grace,” Martinez said. “The system is broken.”
DeLuca complained that “nothing is getting done in Washington.”
“You need to compromise,” he said. “You need to have bipartisanship, working with the other team. Sometimes, you need a new person who can make a difference.”
Napolitano, however, said her nearly 24 years in Congress better empower her to help the district, regardless of the divided DC politics.
“With my experience and my seniority, I’ve delivered for the district,” said pointing to the millions of dollars in projects she has brought to the district.
One example is the $412 million that will be used to repair the Whittier Narrows Dam, she said.
Napolitano said voters shouldn’t blame inflation on the Democrats.
A lot of things are going on: COVID and the market goes up and down because of Ukraine,” she said.
“We don’t like it and it’s unfortunate that it has to happen,” Napolitano said. “I do think oil companies are gouging the public. I think the general public will ride this out like we have any other inflation.”
As for spending, Napolitano said you have to spend money to make money.
“You have to put it out to get the country going,” she said.
De Luca called for a freeze on prices, saying gas companies have made record profits.
Martinez said the government wastes money. One example is the bullet train — that money could have been spent on homeless housing, he said.
Napolitano said homelessness is a complex problem.
“It’s the drugs, mental health and the fact people can’t afford housing any more because prices have gone up,” she said.
Martinez called for federal tax code changes to make it easier to build homes. He also called for building 100 new shelters in each district.
De Luca said the federal government needs to make housing more affordable by offering first-time buyers. who can otherwise pay the mortgage, a loan plan with no down payment.
Another issue is Ukraine. DeLuca and Napolitano said Biden is on the right track in providing arms to Ukraine.
But not Martinez.
“As my wife was born in Moscow, and whose father was born in Ukraine, I see the personal effect this war has had on the real human beings that actually live in Ukraine,” he said in an email.
“Their lives are being destroyed,” Martinez wrote.
“Our primary focus should be on ending the conflict as soon as possible, with minimal human casualties and damage to the infrastructure in Ukraine,” he said.
“But if we keep chasing fantasies like Russia losing access to the freshwater ports and submarine bases in Crimea, or NATO military bases in Ukraine, we’re leading the people of Ukraine down a primrose path,” Martinez wrote.