"Getting to Know You" has been U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's theme song since new areas were added last year to the 48th District that he represents.

Last weekend, he lunched with the Laguna Beach Rotary Club on Friday at Aliso Creek Inn and brunched with the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Assn. on Saturday at Asada's.

"I am doing my best to visit areas that I had not represented before," Rohrabacher said Saturday "I want to give everyone a chance to ask questions."

Rohrabacher is not known for his reticence even when he is at odds with his own party.

"I have opinions, but I have been known to admit when I am wrong — but only a couple of times," Rohrabacher said with a grin Saturday morning.

He must be doing something right — the voters have reelected the native Californian 13 times.

"He rode the waves in Southern California and makes waves in D.C.," said Laguna Taxpayers Assn. President Martha Lydick, who introduced Rohrabacher at a brunch.

Before he ever stepped foot in D.C., Rohrabacher was a reporter for 10 years, including four years at the Orange County Register, which is how he got a job with then-Gov. Ronald Reagan.

"It was the last year of his governorship and he had decided to run for president," Rohrabacher said. "He needed an assistant press secretary and I was the only Republican they could find in the press corps."

Rohrabacher traveled the campaign trail with Reagan for six months and after the election joined the White House staff as Reagan's principal speech writer, a job he held for seven years.

With Reagan's second term ending, Rohrabacher and another young Republican were out of jobs.

"As Chris Cox and I were walking out to of the White House, we said maybe we should run," Rohrabacher said. "And we did."

It was a big decision for a penniless candidate.

"I had no money, but I had more than 50 pictures of myself with Ronald Reagan," Rohrabacher said. "That was worth more than money and I won in 1988."

He now sits on two of the most influential House committees.

Rohrabacher is the vice chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. And what he has learned in that position hits home in Laguna.

He announced that Lockheed has a design that would reduce the cost of desalinization by 50% to 75%.

Former Mayor Cheryl Kinsman, now a Laguna Beach County Water District commissioner, was intrigued. The district has been involved in a pilot desalinization project for five years, stymied by red tape, she said.

"We can't take the water without 22 governmental agencies' approvals," she said.

To which Rohrabacher replied: "Bureaucracy is the most efficient system to turn energy into solid waste.'