The following are candidates for the 27th Congressional District Judy Chu and Jack Orswell.
The following are candidates for the 27th Congressional District Judy Chu and Jack Orswell. (File Photos)

PASADENA - The contrasts between the two candidates running in the 27th Congressional District race mirrors those of the district itself.

The new 27th Congressional District is a sprawling geographic mass. The district wraps in a large swath of the Angeles National Forest; it includes the tree-lined western San Gabriel Valley cities of Pasadena and San Marino; the Asian majority political strongholds of Monterey Park and Alhambra and the cities to the east like Upland that benefitted greatly from the real estate bubble of the last decade.

The race to represent the seat pits a politician with more than 20 years of service against a political upstart who says the problem with the country is the lack of fresh faces and ideas.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-El Monte, is vying to represent the newly drawn district, which includes the a large portion of the first majority Asian legislative district in the state.

Chu cites experience as her edge in the race.

"I've been in Congress for three years, elected office 27 years, including Garvey school board, Monterey Park City Council where I served as mayor, the California state Assembly and the State Board of Equalization," Chu said.

While her opponent Republican Jack Orswell can't match Chu's wealth of lawmaking experience, he is no stranger to government.

Orswell spent 15 years as a white collar crimes investigator with the FBI pursuing corrupt politicians and business people.


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"I took on tough cases against well-entrenched Teamsters. When the Teamsters were stealing money from workers we went after the teamsters," Orswell said. "I feel Congress is entrenched and not doing the job for America, they are trying to further their careers."

While bipartisan bickering marks the daily discourse in Washington, D.C., Chu remains confident that Republicans and Democrats can close the ideological gulf between the parties.

They better.

The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and with them triggered funding cuts will kick in if the two sides can't strike a deal before the New Year. Chu said she doesn't expect any work on the federal funding sequester to begin until after Election Day.

Orswell has tired of the seemingly unending brinkmanship in Washington, D.C. He said his candidacy is in effect an alternative to the ongoing narrative of partisan political fights and last minute resolutions that merely kick the can down the road.

"If you are happy with the way things are going in Congress, vote them back in," Orswell said. "If you keep electing the same people and expect something different, it's not going to happen."

The disparity between the candidates is also apparent in their fundraising. Orswell, the political neophyte has raised $87,507, according to the Federal Election Commission. Chu, according to the FEC, has raised $938,650.

For the San Gabriel Valley, both candidates support completion of the environmental report for the controversial 710 freeway. However, Orswell remains "skeptical that the tunnel can be built economically."

If elected, this would mark Chu's third term in the Congress. In her third term, she would like to expand business opportunities in the San Gabriel Valley, by bringing a small business development center to the region. The federally backed facility helps small businesses with loans and consultations on how to expand.

"I am running to make sure we are able to fix this economy," Chu said.

For Orswell, this race comes down to whether the country will continue to saddle the next generation with debt.

"We are getting government services that we are not paying for and saddling our grandchildren with debt," Orswell said.

The 27th Congressional District includes portions of Pasadena, all of San Marino, Alhambra, South Pasadena, Arcadia, Glendora, Upland, Claremont, portions of Monrovia, and unincorporated portions of Los Angeles County including Altadena.

Democrats make up 41.8 percent of voters in the district, while Republicans comprise 28.5 percent of the registered voters in the 27th Congressional District. Declined to state voters account for 23.9 percent of the district's voters, according to figures from the Aroundthecapitol.com.

brian.charles@sgvn.com

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