Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said he has enough left in his political tank to represent the state’s 28th Congressional District, but his opponent thinks otherwise.
In the Nov. 6 general election, the Democratic incumbent will be defending his seat against Republican candidate Johnny Nalbandian, a former seafood mogul who lives in Glendale.
Both candidates are scheduled to take part in a candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Burbank Council Chambers at 275 E. Olive Ave.
Schiff, 58, is currently serving his ninth term in the U.S. House of Representatives and he said his time in the state post has gone by quickly.
He added that he was surprised to be the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee so early in his career.
“I’ve worked hard overlooking intelligence agencies to make sure that we keep the country safe, make sure that the agencies are talking to each other and getting the right mix of intelligence,” Schiff said.
“I’m also proud of legislation I had signed by President Obama to try to address the issues of nuclear proliferation, as well as freedom of the press,” he added.
Schiff also said the legislation approved during the Bush administration to expand the size of the Santa Monica Mountains recreation area is finally coming to fruition.
Last year, Schiff reintroduced the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act, which, if approved, would protect more than 191,000 acres of open space in his district.
Should he be reelected next month, Schiff said he wants to see completion of that legislation, as well as expansion of the Metro Gold Line, hopefully as far as Ontario.
He added that he wants to continue addressing other quality-of-life issues, such as helicopter and aircraft noise.
Back in Washington, D.C., Schiff said he wants to continue his work on the Intelligence Committee, by defending the Robert Mueller investigation, in which the former director of the FBI is investigating whether there were any links between President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.
The congressman also said he thinks he plays an important role in pushing back against the president’s attacks on the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, the intelligence community and, more broadly, on the rule of law.
“This was not a role that I felt was necessary to play during the Bush administration,” Schiff said. “I certainly had my differences with George [W.] Bush, but I got some of my most important work done during that administration. But this president is a real threat to our democracy, and I do feel a significant responsibility to do what I can to protect our democratic institutions from a president that doesn’t seem to understand the system of checks and balances.”
‘I believe in shaking and moving’
Though it is his first time running for public office, Nalbandian, 64, said he is not deterred by his opponent.
Born in New Jersey and raised in California, Nalbandian said he has been obsessed with history and politics since he was a child.
He added that he has not missed a presidential debate or Democratic or Republican national convention since he watched the debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960.
The Republican candidate said he has been following Trump’s political career since 1989, and he even campaigned for the president during the 2016 election.
As an entrepreneur, like the president, Nalbandian said he agrees with much of Trump’s ideologies and believes he is the president who can turn the country around.
“Seeing the country going the way it’s going, toward socialism, we need a businessman that knows how to read a balance sheet, someone’s that’s got a payroll and knows the struggles of the everyday person, and that person is in [office],” Nalbandian said.
“He’s an East Coast guy, and I’m an East Coast guy, and a lot of people tell me that I’m very much like the president,” he added.
Nalbandian said that Trump’s election to the country’s highest office was the main reason he decided to run, adding that the president proved that a businessman, like himself, belongs in politics.
On the other hand, Nalbandian said he thinks that Schiff has not done enough for the 28th District, and he thinks the congressman is too busy with the Mueller investigation.
Should he be elected into office, Nalbandian said his goals would be to address homelessness by creating a business plan in which businesses invest money into those who are looking to become entrepreneurs.
Then, those who become successful would return that initial investment with 15% to 20% interest.
“I believe in shaking and moving,” Nalbandian said. “[Schiff’s] problem is he’s got his direction in the wrong direction. If Adam Schiff or President Barack Obama did something right, I’d be the first one to get up and salute them, but I can’t see anything good that they’ve done in the last eight years.”