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After years of supporting Dana Rohrabacher, I am voting for Scott Baugh

After years of supporting Dana Rohrabacher, I am voting for Scott Baugh
Costa Mesa City Councilmember Jim Righeimer says he’s voting for Scott Baugh, above, instead of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, for whom Righeimer has voted for years. (File Photo)

For most of my adult life, I have voted for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher for Congress. This June, however, I am casting my ballot for Scott Baugh.

I do not make this choice lightly. I served as Rohrabacher's campaign chairman for many years. Rohrabacher has been an eloquent voice for liberty, but not an effective voice for the people of his district.

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Thirty years in Congress have made Rohrabacher one of the most senior members of the House of Representatives, but all that seniority hasn't translated into passing legislation that addresses long-standing problems in our district.

Airliner jet noise degrades the quality of life of many 48th Congressional District residents. The explosion of sober living homes plagues neighborhoods in my city and other communities and contributes to crime and homelessness.

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Solutions to these social blights require changes to federal laws that handcuff local government's power to protect residents. What the people of our district don't have is a congressman with the abilities to push those changes into law.

On April 23, two weeks before absentee ballots are being mailed out to the voters, Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) promised to "dramatically reduce" jet noise by introducing amendments to the Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill.

Within a few days, all of his amendments had been killed. Four were found to be "out of order." The one that made it to the floor, was voted down 375 to 37.

All the seniority in the world does nothing for you if you are not respected by your colleagues. Even his fellow members of the House knew it was just another political stunt.

On March 9, in his candidate statement, Rohrabacher said he introduced a bill to allow local governments to restrict sober living homes. Two months later, on May 11, he held a press conference on House Resolution 5724, his sober living legislation.

According to the congressional website, as of Friday, the text of the legislation had not been received, just introduction of the bill. Again, another political stunt to get press and say he is fighting for his constituents.

Sadly for us, there's no reason to believe he will have any more success with sober-living homes than with his jet noise amendments. He never lifted a finger to help us on this issue until, you guessed it, election time comes around.

These are longstanding problems in our district, but Rohrabacher waits until he's in a tough re-election to check the box by introducing bills that go nowhere.

After 30 years in Congress, there's no reason to think re-electing Rohrabacher will transform him into an effective problem-solver for our communities. We are overdue for a congressman with proven legislative and problem-solving skills.

That's why I am voting for Baugh.

He is a friend, a conservative activist and Republican leader. He's a problem-solver who can reach across the aisle to get things done.

As Republican leader in the state Assembly in 2000, he passed bills repealing the car tax and enacting a health care tax cut — and that was with the Democrats controlling the governorship and the state Legislature. As chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, he raised millions for GOP candidates up and down the ticket, and fought for pension reform and restraining the power of public employee unions.

I don't believe in legislating for the sake of legislating. But the serious problems facing our community, our county and our Republic cannot be solved without legislation. Baugh has the energy, experience and proven ability to advance conservative policies into law.

Furthermore, contrary to false claims by the Rohrabacher camp, Baugh is not a sober living homes lobbyist and has nothing to do with their proliferation in Costa Mesa — but as our congressman, I'm confident he can pass legislation allowing local governments to control and restrict them.

Despite 30 years in office, Rohrabacher lacks the skills necessary to pass legislation. In 30 years, he's passed only three bills — the last one was 14 years ago. He's a great bomb-thrower but a poor legislator; good at rhetoric but bad at results.

While honoring Rohrabacher's three decades in Congress, it's time for a change. Our district needs a congressman who can translate conservative principles into conservative policies, and advance the cause of liberty and limited, constitutional government. That person is Baugh.

JIM RIGHEIMER is a member of the Costa Mesa City Council.

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