You might think the most important race Nov. 6 is the one between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and that’s probably true.
But it’s not the only one.
In fact, if you are not only a liberal but someone who thinks at all, you might want to make sure you make it to the polls that day not only to cast your vote for president but to make sure that Jim Reed is elected to Congress in place of former state senator Doug LaMalfa.
You might wonder, in our conservative, rural district, doesn’t the Republican have this race locked up? Not this time. Democrats have a strong, fiercely independent candidate with crossover appeal. And the Republican candidate is the worst. Lots of local Republicans can’t stand him. In fact, Sam Aanestad, LaMalfa’s main Republican opponent in the primary is suing him. LaMalfa is hypocritical extreme and is not a good fit for the First District, and that makes Jim Reed worth believing in.
LaMalfa’s views are not conservative. They are medieval. He recently made a link between abortion and breast cancer. The fact that he tried to back pedal away says little about his conscience or ability to be reflective and more about the fact that he has no real core values.
Since taking state office nine years ago, he has voted against equal pay for equal work, against funding for prenatal care and post-natal health care, against maternity leave for pregnant workers and even opposed married women’s choices to go by their own surnames.
His extreme views aren’t limited to women’s issues. He said that climate change is taking place on Mars. It seems to me that as a farmer he might be concerned about his ability to actually grow things, but apparently, he is not. He even wants to oppose the Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination act, claiming that a better alternative is to revive the local timber industry. (Yes, this makes no sense!)
You may have seen Doug LaMalfa signs around that say Doug LaMalfa is “one of us.” Well, he is so far from it. He is an extremist — way out of touch with a moderate district. He is against government programs but he himself has taken over $4.5 million in subsidies for his farm. Not exactly walking the walk.
Jim Reed is not an ideological conservative or a knee-jerk liberal. He is a moderate Democrat. He is actively for protecting Social Security and Medicare, for creating local jobs and for reforming the tax code and actively against tax cuts for the super rich. He works as a tax lawyer, and he has lot of very sound and reasonable ideas about how to balance the budget. He believes in women’s reproductive rights.
What’s best about him is that he knows rural Northern California and understands that problems in this region do not call for ideology but for practicality. He’s a reasonable, intelligent guy who wants to serve his community.
It is understandable that people in this part of the state feel distanced from voting. Sometimes it can feel like what’s important is just our quiet little corner of the world, and what do we need with this stuff that goes in Washington? But here are some very real ways how your Congressman could affect your life and your family — like making sure you get equal pay for equal work, access to health care, reproductive freedom and good schools for your kids.
These are basic things you deserve. But LaMalfa does not see things that way. Isn’t it worth it to show up at the polls for 10 minutes to ensure that your lifestyle and your freedoms and your earning power in this beautiful part of the world are maintained rather than destroyed?
LaMalfa is very disliked. Former Republican primary contender Pete Stiglich points out, “Incredibly, not a single candidate who ran in the 1st Congressional primary race has announced publicly their support of Doug LaMalfa for Congress.” Jim Reed has a great chance of winning this election, but it’s going to take people like you showing up to make this happen.
Sarah Miller lives in Nevada City.