The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Cal State Fullerton hopes to engage its members Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon with political topics at a public forum held at the Ruby Gerontology Center.
Jay Chen, the Democratic candidate running for congress against Republican Ed Royce in the newly redrawn 39th district of California, will be featured at the public forum where he will attempt to make a lasting impression on the senior crowd. Chen faces an uphill battle this November, running against an incumbent who has held the congressional seat since 1992.
“With the redistricting that took place last year, the 39th district lines were redrawn, and we now have a more competitive district,” said Ron Osajima, chair of the OLLI-CSUF collaboration committee, about why he thought it was important to hold the forum. “So we thought it was appropriate… for our members to hear both the Democratic and the Republican candidates for office.”
Congressman Royce’s campaign has not responded to requests from OLLI, asking him to speak at the forum, Osajima said. But Osajima also said the congressman is welcome to speak any time to lay out his platform for reelection.
Royce’s platform, which is mainly focused on creating jobs, is outlined on his website. The site states that he wants to lower taxes for small and medium sized businesses, slash the national debt, repeal unnecessary regulation and increase domestic energy supply to lessen the country’s dependence on foreign oil.
Royce also describes himself as a limited-government conservative, which is appealing to the 39th district’s Republican demographic.
“He’s in a district where (Chen) starts off on Election Day 10 points (behind Royce) at least,” said Matthew G. Jarvis, Ph.D., an associate professor of political science, on the chances of Chen knocking Royce out of congress. “Ed Royce is an incumbent and unless there is a scandal, it’s a safe district for him.”
The issues that will be discussed at the forum range anywhere from assisting veterans to continuing education for people who are no longer in school, Chen said.
Chen’s plan for economic recovery is to give tax credits to small businesses, encouraging them to hire more workers and to give preference to American products and manufacturing in government, Chen’s website explains.
Chen is a Harvard graduate who is currently an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, he said.
“Our country and representatives should be doing a better job of assisting our veterans at navigating the Veteran Affairs system,” said Chen.
With the redrawing of the district lines last year, instead of running for the 40th district, Congressman Royce and candidate Chen will be squaring off in the 39th district.
The 39th district now spans through Hacienda Heights to Walnut and Chino Hills to Yorba Linda, all the way down toward Buena Park, and everything else in between.
Much noise has been made about the redistricting—that it might cause changes to areas traditionally held by a specific party, but others feel some district votes will not be changed much.
“The 39th (district) is 33 percent Democratic, 41 percent Republican by registration,” Jarvis said about information found at RedistrictingPartners.com. “Democrats can’t win a district if they’re down eight points in registration. They already run a deficit in turnout as it is.”
But this isn’t going to stop OLLI from informing voters enrolled in their program or students at CSUF about the candidates in this upcoming election and where they stand politically.
The public forum featuring Jay Chen is open to anyone who is on campus and will be held in the RGC at the Macky Auditorium.