Now, I could tell you a lot of things about why you should really, really want Republican Rep. Dan Lungren out of office, but I don't want to bury the lede. Here's a 2005 press release Lungren still proudly features on his congressional website:
Congressman Dan Lungren (R-Gold River), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, today introduced the Defense of Marriage Amendment. The bill is designed to thwart efforts to undermine the sovereign right of the people of a state to defend the traditional definition of marriage.Seven years later and Lungren's still isn't embarrassed enough to take this down. Fortunately, we have a great chance to take him down.
With this bill, Congressman Lungren is fulfilling a promise he made to the people of California's 3rd Congressional District to introduce a constitutional amendment designed to protect the sanctity of traditional marriage.
"It is increasingly apparent that marriage itself has become vulnerable to the design of judges who have seen fit to take upon themselves the authority to engage in social engineering aimed at the redefinition of this foundational societal institution," said Congressman Lungren.
Thanks to redistricting, California's new congressional map represents a major departure from the old lines—and with those changes comes opportunity. Democrats now have a legitimate shot at pickups in at least half a dozen seats in the Golden State, and perhaps there's no better target than Lungren's redrawn 7th District.
In 2010, Lungren faced the fight of his political life from physician Ami Bera. Bera did a monster job fundraising, actually outraising Lungren 3-to-2—not something many challengers can say they did. Bera ran a hell of a campaign, too, but last cycle's red tide wound up saving Lungren, who won with just 50.1 percent of the vote.
Rapidly shifting demographics were part of the reason Lungren was back on his heels even while most Republicans were romping: The old 3rd District had gone for George W. Bush over John Kerry by a 58-41 margin, but Barack Obama narrowly won the seat in 2008 with 49 percent of the vote. Now yet another change outside of Lungren's control has made things even worse for him. Under the revised district lines, this seat—in the Elk Grove region just east of Sacramento—became significantly bluer, with Barack Obama now winning it 51-46. Combined with those continuing demographic trends, Lungren has every reason to be worried about his political future.
The even better news is that Bera is back for a second run at the incumbent, and once again, he's been running a strong race. While Bera remarkably still leads in fundraising, Lungren has picked up the pace and won't be caught napping this time. Bera's going to need some serious help to oust Lungren, and it's time we stepped up.
I should add, of course, that Bera is a proud supporter of marriage equality. He was recently endorsed by the National Stonewall Democrats, telling them in their survey:
I believe that same sex partners should be granted the same rights and privileges as any other couple, including: the right to marry, the ability to adopt, property rights, employment related benefits, tax treatment, the right to assist loved ones in cases of emergency, and survivor benefits.And you'll see from his answers to our Orange to Blue questionnaire below the fold that he stands with our community on other issues of key importance to us. Bera is well-positioned to take advantage of his situation: California's demographic changes, the new redistricting lines, and Lungren's failings as a candidate—and as a human being. Let's help him do so.
1. Do you support:
a) A public health insurance option, offered by the federal government and tied to Medicare reimbursement rates plus 5% (H.R. 3200, Subtitle B, including § 223(b)(1)(A), as introduced in the House, 111th Congress)?
b) The Medicare You Can Buy Into Act (H.R. 4789, 111th Congress), which would allow all citizens or permanent residents to buy into Medicare?
I have spent my professional life caring for people and educating the next generation of doctors. Unfortunately, the system consistently puts bureaucracies before the health of our patients. I have witnessed medical costs skyrocket without seeing patient care improve. And I have treated patients who would be healthier if they could have afforded basic preventive care. This is why I support providing Medicare for all versus an industry that puts profits before patients.
We must reduce waste and fraud, empower the doctor-patient relationship, and improve the health of the American people.
Politicians in Washington, D.C. are too focused on scoring points for their political party and are ignoring the pressing needs of their constituents. Moving forward, we must work together so that the all Americans have access to the best health care in the world.
2. Do you agree that any immigration reform bill should:
a) Contain a meaningful path to citizenship — one that does not include overly-punitive fines or a touchback requirement — for law-abiding undocumented immigrants currently in the United States;
b) Ensure that expanded legal permanent immigration, rather than expansion of temporary worker programs, serves as the United States' primary external answer to workforce shortages; and
c) Ensure that any non-agricultural temporary worker programs maintain current caps on the total number of non-agricultural temporary worker visas issued, and also include a meaningful prevailing wage requirement keyed to the Service Contract Act and the Davis-Bacon Act?
I support the Dream Act and comprehensive immigration reform. Children who were brought to our country at a young age who follow the law, join the armed forces, and pursue the American Dream should not be deported. I agree with President Obama's Executive Order.
3. Do you oppose each of the following changes to Social Security and Medicare:
a) Raising the retirement age;
b) Eliminating or reducing the cost of living adjustment;
c) Directly reducing benefits;
d) Means-testing recipients; and
e) Privatization, so-called "personal accounts," and vouchers?
I oppose each of these changes. We must do more to protect these programs – which is why I’ve signed a pledge to protect Social Security, and fight all efforts to privatize this program and gamble with our future in the stock market. Protecting Social Security also means keeping government’s hands off of the Social Security Trust Fund – instead of borrowing against our children, we can reduce our deficit by closing tax loopholes for corporations and the rich. Our seniors must be able to enter their golden years with the assurance that they will be able to rely Social Security.
4. Do you support the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 1409/S. 560, 111th Congress), including the provision known as "card check"?
Jobs and the economy are the most important issue in this election. In these tough economic times, it is essential that the rights of workers are protected, not trampled on. That is why I support the Employee Free Choice Act. For this country to remain exceptional we are going to need to rely on the hard work and dedication of our elite work force.
5. Do you pledge to vote against any efforts to extend the temporary tax cuts for income over $250,000 (Public Law 111-312)?
We need to end the failed policies from the Bush era. In Congress, I will fight to lower our National debt and have corporations and the super-rich pay their fair share.
6. If elected to the House, do you pledge not to join the Blue Dog Coalition?