(June 2, 2007) -- Kicking off her Congressional campaign in Carson -- a stronghold for the late Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D., Carson-LB) -- Assemblywoman Laura Richardson (D., Carson-LB) heard multiple elected officials and union reps cite her experience [six years on LB's City Council, six months in the state Assembly] in a tacit comparison to Valerie McDonald, the late Congresswoman's non-officeholding daughter now seeking to succeed her mother on Capitol Hill.
LBReport.com's coverage below includes audio coverage of salient remarks in MP3 form.
Congresswoman Waters told the crowd of about a hundred Richardson precinct-walking volunteers that she urged Richardson to run for the seat:
To launch audio, click here.
Congresswoman Waters: This is not the time when we can send people to Washington who have never had the legislative experience. This is not the time for us to back-up on a district where the representative deserves the best. This is not the time to sit on our laurels and think 'well it's OK for any old body to be elected.' It is not OK. You need the best. You need someone with proven experience. You need someone who's got a lot of energy, who's willing to work, who will represent all [stresses "all"] of the people, all of the people. Ladies and gentlemen, I knew right away what we had to do, and I did not hesitate. I did not wait for Laura Richardson to call me. I called her. [cheers, applause] and I said you've got to do this. But I wasn't the only one. She was getting calls from everywhere. People were coming together and what you see is a basic united front in the way that we haven't seen in a long time...I will see you all in Washington for the swearing in of Laura Richardson.
With two major African-American candidates vying in the June 26 special election -- Assemblywoman Richardson is backed by Congresswoman Waters while Ms. McDonald is endorsed by Congresswoman Diane Watson (D., Los Angeles) -- the Congressional Black Caucus declined to endorse a candidate in the race.
An upbeat Assemblywoman Richardson told the crowd, "Compton is going to deliver Laura, and Laura is going to deliver for Compton. [applause] Carson is going to deliver for Laura, and Laura is going to deliver for Carson. [applause, cheers] The Latino community is going to deliver for Laura [repeats her name with Spanish pronunciation] and Laura unequivocally is going to bust her tail for the Latino community. [applause] For the Asian community, Filipino. Cambodian, Samoan, all of the east Asian communities, they will come through and deliver for Laura, and Laura is going to deliver for those communities." She continued:
Assemblywoman Richardson: And for everyone else who's represented here, Caucasian, African-American, etcetera, you know why it's so special for you to be here? It's because I'm sick and tired of the press talkin' about this being a race thing. This race is not about your ethnic background. This race is about who cares most about the community, who has a record of delivering for the community and who is the face of the community. And our face of the community is not the color of our skin. The face of our community is the fact that I've been working since I've been 12 years old. The face of our community is I've been working two jobs for the last ten years. The face of our community is I worked full time and went to school and cleaned toilets at UCLA to work my way through. That's our community. And so this race is about people who are rallying behind leadership that understands the community and is willing to deliver for them.
To launch audio of Assemblywoman Richardson, click here.
Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally (D., Compton), who once represented the area in Congress, received cheers when he said, "In 1980, we stole this district from an incumbent. [cheers] We are going to keep it for Laura Richardson. [more cheers] No one thought we would have beaten Wilson, and we did, and it has been our seat since 1980, and it's going to be our seat until 3000. [cheers, applause]." [To launch audio, click here.]
Other speakers included Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas (D., L.A), L.A. City Councilmembers Herb Wesson and Bernard Parks, Carson area elected officials and representatives of organized labor.
11 Dems, 5 Repubs, 1 Green & 1 Libertarian are vying for the U.S. House seat that includes Carson, Compton, Signal Hill, Willowbrook, parts of L.A...and 80% of Long Beach...which has the district's largest number of registered voters.
The candidates include State Senator Jenny Oropeza (D., southbay), who's also a former LB City Councilmember, and served six years in the Assembly representing the Carson-LB district to which Richardson was elected in November 06. Sen. Oropeza has the endorsement of the CA Democratic Party.
Republican candidates include John Kanaley, an LBPD Sergeant and Iraq war veteran who's endorsed by the LB Police Officers Association.
If no candidate receives over half the votes, a runoff will be held August 21 for the top vote-drawing candidates in each party.
Assemblywoman Richardson has the endorsement of organized labor including the L.A. County Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)...and volunteer precinct walkers sporting union T-shirts were conspicuous at the June 2 event. From the podium, labor reps vowed to provide resources and work through election day for Richardson.
The event appeared well organized, with tables of sign-in sheets and lawn signs ready for precinct walkers. Among those staffing the tables was LB resident and Wrigley neighborhood activist Maria Norvell.
Audio Event Coverage: First Congressional Candidates Forum Hears, Questions Seven Dems, 1 Repub Who Want To Represent 80% of LB in Congress