Letters: The Waxman touch

Letters: The Waxman touch
Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) fields a phone call in his Capitol Hill office after announcing his plan to retire at the end of his term. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Re "Rep. Henry A. Waxman to retire," Jan. 31

For years I have been so pleased that I was represented in Congress by one of its most principled members, Los Angeles Democrat Henry A. Waxman. For so many years he has fought for and won legislation that promotes the health and welfare of millions of Americans.

Now, after 40 years, he is retiring. What will we do without him?

Thanks to Waxman for his hard work. I hope that the person elected to replace him follows his outstanding example.


Ann Bourman

Los Angeles

Whatever his accomplishments on the national level, Waxman's most lasting legacy to his constituents will be that of having delayed for decades the arrival of safe, efficient, non-polluting rail transit to the Miracle Mile area.

If Waxman had chosen to lead on environmental and transit issues back in the mid-1980s — including the Westside subway — rather than bowing to the xenophobic concerns of a small number of the highly affluent, the district he serves would be a much safer, healthier and more vibrant area than it is now.

David Lewison

Los Angeles

Waxman has embodied all that's best in politics and government, and over the last 40 years I have admired and supported him as my representative.

In the mid-1980s, he helped me — then the executive director of a struggling free clinic in Venice — to get that community designated a federal Health Professional Shortage Area, recognizing the poverty of many of its residents and their lack of access to medical care.

This enabled the clinic to hire its first staff physician to work with its many volunteer doctors, to increase its services and to grow into the largest free clinic in the country.

An undisputed champion of healthcare throughout his career, he hired a committed and capable staff in his local and Washington offices.

I am grateful for Waxman's effective leadership and dedication to making high-quality, accessible and affordable healthcare a priority in the United States today.

Fern Seizer

Beverly Hills

Concerning Waxman's seat opening up, one former Republican strategist said, "This is the type of seat that opens up once every generation, and if you're elected, you've got a lifetime job, as long as you don't get caught up in a scandal."

I don't think I have ever read a more disappointing rationale for running for public office. A lifetime job?

I want our public servants to be worried about their jobs every single day, and especially before election time. This should give them the motivation to always question if they are consistently operating for the greater good of their constituents.

If I thought I was voting for someone who saw this as a career opportunity as long as he kept his nose clean, I would have serious concerns about his heart being in the right place — and that nose being to the grindstone.

Margaret McVey Thomas