Story and photo by Nadin Abbott
February 12, 2012 (San Diego) – Declaring it time to “regain control of the people’s House from the special interests,” California Democratic Party Chairman hosted a joint press conference with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in San Diego, site of the 2012 California Democratic Convention themed “Battleground California.”
Democrats’ hopes to pick up 25 Congressional seats in the 2012 elections include three seats in California—one of which is the newly redrawn 52nd Congressional District (formerly the 50th district) currently held by Republican Brian Bilbray.
Two well-known Democrats are vying for the nomination: Lori Saldaña, former Assemblywoman and past Associate Dean at Mesa College, and Scott Peters, former San Diego City Council president and Port director.
Redistricting has shifted the district’s registration balance from strongly Republican to nearly equally divided between the major parties: 35.4% Republican, 32.7% Democratic, and the wild card factor of 27.2% decline to state.
Party leaders are hopeful of a pick-up because the district’s voters voted 56.4% for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 45.8% for Governor Jerry Brown in 2010. Moreover, upsets have been seen recently even in the reddest of California communities, such as Modesto, where a Democratic mayor was elected in 2010 in an area that had been safely controlled by Republicans for many years.
“The people are figuring out who is on their side and who is on the side of the 1%,” Chairman Burton said.
“We are on a path to recovery,” said former speaker Pelosi, who noted that unemployment is on the way down but that Republicans have blocked every economic initiative that the President has proposed, including the payroll tax cut to help middle class families, and that they are expected to block the unemployment insurance extension expiring at the end of February.
She said Democrats are “about building the American Dream, and building the ladders of opportunity. The Republicans take away those ladders and walk away with them.”
Pelosi also spoke on the need to resolve problems raised by Citizens United, a recent Supreme Court decision that allows virtually unlimited corporate contributions to political campaigns, a situation that has given rise to special interests dominating and creating a “toxic” dynamic in Congress. She called for an end to the new "Super-Pacs" and elimination of the corporate personhood concept giving corporations the same rights as individuals, a ruling she believes has hurt democracy. Pelosi also urged passage of a “Disclose Act” to require that the public be informed where money comes from in campaigns, as well as a Constitutional amendment to repair the damage caused by the Supreme Court decision, in her view.
The first female speaker of the House of Representatives also spoke about the importance of the 2012 elections for women’s reproductive freedoms, including birth control. President Obama “is committed to women’s health,” she said, adding that the recent healthcare reforms protect women’s healthcare access and eliminated the ability of insurance companies to discriminate against women on the basis of gender. It is time to no longer make being a woman a pre-existing medical condition,” she observed.