Friday, November 10, 2006

November 7th...

Today I write to thank you for your support, your kind words, and your hard work throughout my campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.

While the election did not turn out as we had hoped, I am very proud of our accomplishments, and will continue working to advance the interests of my neighbors in this community.

I wish to express my gratitude to the many prominent figures and organizations who recognized our efforts to bring positive change to the San Fernando Valley.  I am deeply thankful for the endorsements I received from Assemblyman Keith Richman, Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, and U.S. Congressmen Darrell Issa and Jim Kolbe to name a few.

Additionally, the media attention our campaign received is a source of great pride for me.  High profile coverage in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and on Dennis Prager’s nationally syndicated radio show only strengthened my confidence in our message and our ideas.

November 7th was more of a setback than a defeat.  I will continue to work hard for the interests of San Fernando Valley, and for a strong, inclusive GOP...   [ read more ]

Monday, November 06, 2006

POSITIVE CHANGE for AMERICA

Good morning, friends!

On this the eve of Election Day 2006, I wanted to take a moment and highlight three things that would also carry great importantance for me as a U.S. Representative.

While always working to return our fair share of federal funding for transportation and other issues specifically relevant to Southern California and the San Fernando Valley, following are three bills I would like to introduce if elected:
  1. Cancer Research – Private Sector / Federal Program: Increased U.S. funding for medical and health research to be shared by government and the private sector, primarily in the areas of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and mental health.

  2. Meaningful Federal Lobbying and Campaign Finance Reform: The McCain-Feingold Bill did not go far enough to clean up federal political campaign financing. We need to cut out special interest funding of federal campaigns to level the playing field so the voices of everyday Americans can be heard.

  3. Engineering & Science Incentives for Elementary and Middle School Children: The federal government should invest much more in engineering, science education and basic scientific research to ensure that we remain competitive in the global marketplace.
There is likely one issue that resonates most prominently for each of us, though politics is not a single-issue process. We have to do what is best for America, and strive to reach across party lines in order to do so.

I hope I can count on your continued support, and, for those of you in our District, your vote tomorrow!

Despite irresponsible journalism and other strong messages to the contrary: Your vote always makes a difference!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

FEELING RIGHT at HOME

In its profile of my candidacy today, the Los Angeles Times did a great service to the Republican Party, and the people of California’s 27th Congressional District.
[Photo by Mel Melcon, Los Angeles Times]

The Times initially approached its story about my race to unseat Rep. Brad Sherman with curiosity. As the only openly gay Republican running for Congress, this was supposed to be one of those “news of the weird” features. What the Times reporter learned however, is that people on the campaign trail do not care if I am gay or straight. What they really care about are my ideas and my character.

Many in the Democratic Party seek to perpetuate the stereotype of the Republican Party as some crusty old club of plutocrats and bigots, but this article makes it clear that just is not the case. Republicans are bound together by our commitment to fiscal and personal responsibility and by our pro-business and strong defense policies, but we are all individuals, and there is room for all of us in the GOP.

I was thrilled, this week, to have received the endorsement of Gov. Christine Todd Whitman’s national political organization, “It’s My Party Too.” Gov. Whitman is only endorsing nine candidates for office in California: Gov. Schwarzenegger, Reps. Mary Bono and David Dreier, Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, Insurance Commissioner candidate Steve Poizner, three candidates for the state legislature, and me. That is a tremendously impressive list;, one on which I am proud to be included.

Tuesday is a big day for my campaign and the GOP. My opponent, Brad Sherman, has been so confident in his victory that he not only left the District to campaign for other candidates out of state, but he even told his constituents he was doing so! I believe he has ignored a good portion of this District for years so I suppose I should not be so surprised that he chose to ignore it at election time too. I think he could be in for a surprise on Tuesday. Democrats and Independents support me because of my inclusive, bi-partisan approach to federal governance, and the fact that I do NOT toe the Republican Party line on many social issues.

I encourage you to read the Los Angeles Times story. It is a window into the true nature of most of us in the GOP: diverse, energetic, and idea-driven. I am proud of who I am, of my family, and of the Party I represent.

Friday, November 03, 2006

IT'S MY PARTY, TOO!

Dear Friends,

Last week I met with Governor Christine Todd Whitman, the founder and Chair of the national political organization, "It's My Party Too." We had a lengthy and substantive discussion about public policy and the upcoming election.

I am pleased to announce that yesterday I received the endorsement of Governor Whitman and "It's My Party Too"--making me one of only nine candidates for office from California supported by the organization.

It is a tremendous honor for me to be placed on this short list, along with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, U.S. Representatives Mary Bono and David Dreier, Steve Poizner, and three candidates for the State legislature.

My admiration for Governor Whitman could not be greater. A lifelong and loyal Republican, and a leader of the party's moderate wing, she served in the Bush cabinet as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from January 2001 to May 2003. Prior to that, she was the first female elected governor of New Jersey, serving two terms from 1993 to 2000.

Governor Whitman created "It's My Party Too" and its associated IMP-PAC to advocate for the historic Republican principles of liberty, individual responsibility, and personal freedom. I share her vision of a Republican Party that is unified by the basic tenets of fiscal responsibility and personal freedom, yet one that allows for diverse opinions on social issues by its members. IMP-PAC members consider themselves True Conservative Republicans: those who believe in smart fiscal values; who believe that government should have a limited role in Americans' personal lives; and who believe in a strong national defense.

As a Member of Congress, I will be able to greatly expand my efforts to help Governor Whitman continue highlighting the real and non-partisan national perspectives shared by most Americans.

Please help me to win this race...  Your generous contribution will directly benefit our efforts in these final days before the November 7th election.

Thank you for your support!

Monday, October 30, 2006

SERIOUSLY TIME for a CHANGE

In August, my opponent, Rep. Brad Sherman made a public promise to many constituents that he would debate me.  He lied.

For weeks, Mr. Sherman has skipped candidate forums in the district, and ignored requests by my campaign staff to schedule an event: any time, any place. Most recently, he refused to even respond to a formal proposal that called for the San Fernando Sun newspaper to moderate a debate in the northeast San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.

I was especially looking forward to meeting Mr. Sherman in the northeast Valley because it is an area that he publicly fought to exclude from his district, one he has utterly ignored since it was forced upon him after congressional lines were redrawn in late 2001.

In published reports in the Los Angeles Times from 2001, prominent Democrats chastised Mr. Sherman and implied that his opposition was potentially racially motivated:

     “[Sherman] has made himself irrelevant,’ said State Sen. Don Perata (D-Alameda), the chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee. ‘He would like to have sort of a white-bread district and is having a real hard time understanding that the population of California is changing, particularly in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.’ He called Sherman, ‘as self-serving as anybody I’ve met.’
     (“Neighboring LA Democrats Trade Barbs Over Redistricting,” Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2001)

     “[State Sen. Richard Alarcon (D-Sylmar)] also said Sherman has ‘fought vehemently and publicly to reduce the number of Latinos in his district. There are some fences that need to be mended. He needs to let the Latino community know that he supports them as a community.’
     (“Remapping Plan Fails To Appease Latinos,” Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, September 11, 2001)

Now, I absolutely reject the notion that Brad Sherman is a racist—I simply do not believe it. But Brad Sherman is a politician. He sees people in this district as voter registration statistics, not constituents, and has done so for the last four years.

I have no doubt that he fears his act will not play as well in the Northeast Valley as it does in upscale Sherman Oaks, where he has a home. That said, his decision to simply ignore the Northeast Valley for years is infuriating, and it makes no sense, political or otherwise.

My partner in life happens to be Latino—first generation American, in fact.  When elected, I will represent everyone in this District...regardless of where they live, or their political party affiliation.  It's seriously time for a change.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Valley is DUE for a CHANGE...

The San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles has a justifiable “chip on its shoulder.” Despite being part of the City of Los Angeles, it has long been treated as a second-class citizen by local government, a source of great frustration and anger for many Valley residents.

In 2002, this bipartisan issue became so acute that the Valley residents actually voted overwhelmingly to secede from the City of Los Angeles, and GOP Assemblyman Keith Richman (pictured below) was provisionally elected “Mayor of the San Fernando Valley.” Ultimately the initiative was defeated by a majority of the Los Angeles voters from other parts of the City, though the Valley’s discontent remains.

According to the California Institute for Federal Policy Research, the imbalance between what California pays the federal government in taxes and what it gets back in the form of federal funds has gotten worse every year since my opponent, Rep. Brad Sherman, took office. In 2003—the most recent year for which data is available—Californians sent $50 billion more to Washington, D.C., than they got back in return: a record high for any state in the country.

“Getting the Valley its fair share” is the central theme of my campaign. The message is resonating because, with the exception of naming a local Post Office or two, Brad Sherman, has done almost nothing for the 27th District.

In fact, in its 2006 “Power Rankings” of Members of Congress, www.congress.org ranked Brad Sherman a dismal 349th out of 435. As an explanation for Sherman’s low score, the website noted: “Average tenure and committee position, but did not advance any legislation in 2005.”

The “fair share” concern is real. It is powerful, populist and bipartisan. Brad Sherman cannot go near it because of his admittedly undistinguished Congressional record in this area. The same sentiment behind “fair share” that was strong enough to move the Valley to literally vote to secede from the City of Los Angeles, is also strong enough to vote out a do-nothing Congressman.

Please share your thoughts with me, and help us win this election, so I can effectively represent everyone in our District... [HankwitzForCongress.com]

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Congratulations, SENATOR LINCOLN CHAFEE!

This evening U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) soundly defeated Stephen Laffey, his primary election opponent.

As the precinct reports began posting, Senator Chafee's lead was always solid, never dropping below 53%, and finally settling at more than 54% of the vote.

Senator Chafee's victory once again signals that most Americans (especially those in the mainstream) prefer Senators and Representatives in D.C. who get the job done—and don't just toe the party line.

I had the honor of spending an afternoon with Senator Chafee recently, and I can attest without reservation that he, too, is an example of someone who strongly supports fairness, security and opportunity in America.

Congratulations, Senator Chafee! America needs you in Washington for six more years...