Endorsement: Send Mike Levin back to Congress

Rep. Mike Levin, center, at a news conference Washington, D.C.
Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) speaks at a news conference in April 2021.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Rep. Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano) was first elected to Congress in 2018 as part of the blue wave that flipped control of the U.S. House to Democrats. He replaced Republican Darrell Issa, who decided not to seek reelection after the politics of the district, which includes parts of Orange and San Diego counties, shifted left. (Two years later, Issa returned to Congress by winning in a neighboring district that still had a conservative majority.)

Levin, an environmental attorney and Southern California native, is seeking a third term representing the 49th District, which stretches from Laguna Nigel to Del Mar. And it’s in the best interest of the voters in this coastal district to send him back to Congress.

Levin has proved to be an effective champion and protector of the natural resources that make this district one of the most desirable places to live in the country, if not the world. As a member of the Progressive Democratic Caucus, he’s among the vanguard pushing for more robust federal action to combat climate change, but he has still found opportunities to work on legislation with Republican colleagues on veterans issues and coastal habitat, among other things. He’s led the effort to ban offshore drilling and to clean up pollution in the Tijuana River Valley that has dumped millions of gallons of sewage into the ocean. Levin also supports protecting abortion access.


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Sept. 8, 2022

His challenger in the Nov. 8 election is Republican Brian Maryott, a financial planner who served on the San Juan Capistrano City Council from 2016 to 2020. This is his third time challenging Levin for the congressional seat. Maryott declined an interview with the Los Angeles Times’ editorial board, so we were unable to ask him directly about his position on important issues such as reproductive rights and whether he believes Joe Biden is the legitimately elected president. From his public statements, it’s clear he wants to curtail federal spending and does not support reproductive rights, having celebrated in a tweet when the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade in June.

The two also have different views about a very local problem: the nuclear waste sitting on the edge of the Pacific Ocean at the decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Levin has led an effort to restart the process of relocating nuclear waste by advocating for interim storage solutions. Maryott favors “deep mountain” storage, which refers to the Yucca Mountain waste repository in the eastern Nevada wilderness that the government has spent billions of dollars on but never completed because of local opposition. Both options ought to be pursued, but Levin is right that the top priority now is to move the waste away from active fault lines and millions of people.

Voters in the 49th District have a qualified and effective representative in Levin. They should reelect him.