Leading up to the June 7 primary, The Times endorsed Democratic candidate Nanette Barragán from among the 11 people running to replace Rep. Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro) in California's 44th congressional district. Now that she has advanced to the general election along with state Sen. Isadore Hall III (D-Compton), the case to support her on Nov. 8 is, if anything, stronger.
Barragán stands out for her intelligence, her drive and her experience, both as an attorney for one of Los Angeles' most prestigious law firms and as a former member of the Hermosa Beach City Council. And although critics call her a carpetbagger (Hermosa Beach is in the 33rd District, where Rep. Ted Lieu is the incumbent Democrat) Barragán was born and raised within this mostly working-class district that stretches from South Gate to San Pedro, and she still maintains close family ties in the district.
Hall is the front-runner and has the bulk of the Democratic Party establishment in his corner. That doesn't mean he will do a better job, only that he is good at winning elections. Too often Hall has acted for the benefit of special interests rather than for his district. His record on the environment is dismal by any measure, but particularly disappointing in a district that is home to oil refineries and other heavy industries.
Barragán is backed by environmental advocates who praise her work fighting oil drilling in Hermosa Beach and single-use plastic bags. If Barragán's former colleagues have any criticism of her, it is that she is aggressive in pursuit of what she wants. That could be a plus or a minus, depending on how it is used. Her experience suggests it will be to the benefit of her constituents.