Six Questions for Congressional Candidate Grace Napolitano

Patch asks Grace Napolitano, Congressional candidate for the 32nd district, questions ahead of the June 5 Primary Election.

Rep Grace Napolitano (D-Santa Fe Springs) may be moving from her current 38th Congressional district to the newly formed 32nd district, but its majority Latino and Democrat communities have given the 13-year representative an edge in this year’s election.

The 75-year-old congresswoman from Norwalk, Calif., has served in Congress since 1999, served four years in the state assembly and six years as a councilmember and mayor of Norwalk. While pundits predict she will easily win one of the two open slots on the November ballot after , Napolitano is running in a district with several communities new to her, including Glendora, Azusa, Covina, La Verne, Charter Oak, Monrovia, and Baldwin Park.

Patch interviewed Napolitano by email as a part of our series of candidate profiles.

1.  Why are you running for the 32nd Congressional?

I have represented the San Gabriel Valley communities for over 2 ½ decades; working cooperatively with the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments on job development, adequate transportation, water infrastructure and aquifer cleanup. 

Upon developing relationships with influential decision makers like Chairman/CEO of Union Pacific, the CA High Speed Rail Authority and EPA Region 9 Administrator, I bring them to our local area to speak directly with our locally elected officials and address their grievances and problems to executives and top officials.  

When elected, I look forward to continue delivering the many possible federal services to our San Gabriel Valley communities; promote and address issue of mental health, suicide prevention, PTSD, TBI, care for our returning vets; ensure investment in local and state water and transportation infrastructure.

Our Valley needs to build upon our relationships with businesses and newly elected officials to provide and promote job development, especially the creation of export markets, services for returning veterans, housing assistance, support funding for Metro Gold Line expansion and affordable college tuition, i.e., Pell Grants, all with Federal assistance. 

2.  What do you think has contributed to the state's current fiscal situation? What would you do to help with the state's recovery? 

California receives only 78 cents back on each dollar our taxpayers send to Washington.  While I currently serve in the U.S. Congress and not the CA Legislature, I will continue to fight for California taxpayers to ensure that we receive more of our fair share of federal funds, especially at our ports, transportation projects, etc.

California is also one of only three states that requires a 2/3 approval vote to pass a state budget, which has led to gridlock and economic crisis.  I support lowering the 2/3 threshold.  We need to find additional markets for our businesses to create jobs; retrain our workforce; reduce unfunded mandates to local governments – just to name a few.

3.   You were a part of Congress as the state deficit grew. How will you ensure that government will work on a resolution rather than allow the financial bleeding to continue to occur?

California state legislature’s action is critical to address the state deficit.  Meanwhile, I will continue to oppose any irresponsible, partisan Federal resolution to raise the debt ceiling that would put our country on the brink of default, threaten our credit rating, and/or damage Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.  In Congress, I voted against the Iraq War Resolution and against the creation of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bail out big banks.  They led to massive deficits, ultimately did not provide or address assistance to our San Gabriel Valley constituents, wounded warriors, nor help vets and many banks still refuse to provide loan modifications for under water homeowners. 

4.   Would you have an instrumental role as previous local representatives have had in bringing funds to the Gold Line extension project? Why or why not?

Having represented the San Gabriel Valley in U.S. Congress since 1999, I have written to help Congressmen Schiff, Dreier and Congresswoman Chu secure federal funding (over $7.4million to date) for the Gold Line Foothills extension.  When elected, I will be the only San Gabriel Valley area representative to serve on the U.S. House Transportation Committee, where I will continue to work with local stakeholders like San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments and the Gold Line Foothills Construction Authority, Foothills Transit, Alameda Corridor East Construction Authority and our Los Angeles/Long Beach Port Authorities to bring funds for critical projects. 

5. Schools have long struggled with dwindling state resources. How do you think the state should treat funding for public schools and higher education? What should be done to maintain quality education? 

The California Legislature must make education a priority in order to educate and train instead of importing workers.  I will continue to support increase in funding for Title I program, which provides additional resources to assist educationally disadvantaged children in high poverty schools, vote in favor of full federal funding (at the promised level of 40% of costs) of educating students with disabilities, and vote to increase Pell Grant assistance so it keeps pace with increases in tuition costs. 

6. What specific issues would be a high priority for you if you were elected to Congress?

I pledge to continue to protect our Medicare and Social Security; clean drinking water; mental health parity; safe communities; and fully earned benefits for returning veterans. 


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