After serving eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez will no longer serve California’s 47th district, which encompassed Cal State Fullerton.
Redistricting has forced incumbent Ed Royce to run in the newly-created 39th Congressional district, which, as of November, includes most of Fullerton, including CSUF.
A former Republican, Sanchez made history in 1996 when she won the 46th District race against six-term Republican Robert Dornan. Running as a moderate Democrat, she was the first Latina ever to be elected to Congress from the historically Republican-leaning Orange County. In a 1998 rematch, she easily defeated Dornan and has not faced serious opposition since.
“(Sanchez) challenged (Dornan) and she was able to beat him,” said Matthew G. Jarvis, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science at CSUF. “Latinos really turned out to vote. By 2000, they made up 30 percent of the electorate,” he said.
A recognized leader on military issues and national security issues, Sanchez is the third highest ranking Democrat and the most senior female member on the Armed Services Committee.
On the Strategic Forces subcommittee, Sanchez oversees U.S. armed forces weapons, ballistic missile defense, space programs, and Department of Energy national security programs. She is also a senior member of the subcommittees on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi recently appointed Sanchez to the Board of Visitors of the United States Military Academy. This has made her the second highest ranked and most senior female member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, where she has served since the committee’s institution and has tackled both intelligence and counterterrorism issues.
Sanchez is also a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group in the House of Representatives whose members identify themselves as moderate Democrats. Despite the Blue Dog’s different views on economic and social conservatism, they claim to promote positions within the House that bridge the gap between right-wing and left-wing politics.
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC) revised the district lines in time for the June 2012 primaries in accordance with Proposition 20. The bill defines district lines to ensure effective and fair representation. By doing so, the communities in the districts would be grouped with people that share common social and economic interests.
The CCRS’s final report altered District 47, which currently includes Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove and parts of Fullerton.
Royce is the current U.S. Representative for California’s 40th Congressional district, serving in Congress since 1993 as a member of the Republican Party. His current district covers northern Orange County, including portions of Stanton, Cypress, Buena Park, Fullerton, Anaheim, Placentia and Orange.
Royce will be running against Democratic challenger Jay Chen for District 39, which will include Fullerton, Placentia, Yorba Linda, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar and Rowland Heights.
Chen, an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve and Harvard graduate, is the underdog in the upcoming election to Royce, who is a veteran in Congress.
Because CSUF falls within the 39th district, Chen said he wants to ensure that college remains affordable by “making sure we bring down student loan interest rates.”
“It is unacceptable that we put a burden our future generations (and) work force with so much debt,” he said.
Royce could not be reached for comment at the time of this report.
Sanchez will be up for re-election in November, along with the rest of Congress. She is running against Jerry Hayden, a Republican from Garden Grove.
“What she’s gotten redistricted into looks pretty safe now too,” Jarvis said.
Jarvis said the fact that Sanchez was able to withstand the Republican waves of 2008 and 2010 is a good indication that she will do well in the upcoming election.
“Loretta Sanchez will be representing people in Congress for the foreseeable future,” he said.