During two terms in Congress, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) has proven to be an effective consumer advocate with a knack for grilling business executives and government officials — and an unusual one method of conveying information.
The viral videos of Porter using her professorial skills to question powerful people while scribbling numbers on a whiteboard have become a 21st-century accountability genre. Porter has taken on one, among others Manager of a pharmaceutical company confronted and pressured a federal official to raise the price of cancer drugs Do COVID-19 tests for free. Oversight is a critical duty of Congress, and Porter has a gift for doing it in a clear and persuasive manner.
She has also been a reliable voice for protecting Americans’ freedoms under attack by a right-wing Supreme Court. She voted for them Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have enshrined in federal law the statewide right to abortion that was lost when the court overturned Roe v. Wade. She voted for bills of protection same-sex marriage and the right to access to birth control after Judge Clarence Thomas wrote an opinion arguing that the court should consider overturning decisions guaranteeing those freedoms. (All three of these bills passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, but stalled in the evenly divided Senate.)
But Porter, who represents a swing neighborhood in Orange County, isn’t afraid to show political independence. She wrote legislation to ban lawmakers from trading stocks while in office, citing the potential for corruption and the need for Congress to build public trust. She said House Narrator Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) ‘was wrong’ against such a bill, a position Pelosi eventually reversed.
Porters too challenged leaders of their own party on internal house rules related to the use of props (after a Democratic committee chair prevented her from showing a billboard) and procedures for assigning members to committees. Her brazen style likely got her booted from the House Financial Services Committee, where a columnist for the Washington Post affectionately described her as “a cop in a china shop” – despised by financial industry insiders but revered by ordinary Americans who see her taking a stand against Wall Street.
Porter’s opponent in the Nov. 8 election is Republican Scott Baugh, a former congressman who led Orange County’s Republican Party for several years. He appears to be taking a page from Donald Trump’s campaign book and appears on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show in June to stoke fears of migrants.
“Some are gang members and some are human traffickers and some are drug smugglers,” Baugh said of Unknown People arriving by boat in Orange County.
Bauh said NBC that he opposes same-sex marriage and abortion and would have voted against Porter-backed legislation to enshrine those rights in federal law. He didn’t respond to several invitations from the Times editorial board to meet for a promotional interview, so we have a lot of unanswered questions. But it appears that if Baugh is elected, he will join the ranks of extremist GOP lawmakers working to take away Americans’ rights and freedoms and sow anti-immigrant hatred. The country doesn’t need more.
Baugh attacks Porter over an advantage she enjoys as a faculty member at UC Irvine Law School. She has been on unpaid leave since her election to Congress in 2018, but still owns one Home in the University Hills development which she bought when she started teaching at the school in 2011. The community was formed to help UC Irvine employees buy below-market homes in the expensive region. Homeowners pay a discounted price to buy a home and do not own the land it sits on. They also have to sell it at a discount when they leave, so their chances of winning are limited.
Porter said university policies allow faculty to take unpaid leave to serve in government, and many other professors have maintained campus houses while on leave. Her family continues to live in the home while she is in Washington, and Porter said if she lost reelection, she would return to teaching at UC Irvine. Porter said she will decide whether to ask for more leave after the election.
This race for the 47th congressional district — which includes Irvine, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach — is one of a handful of hard-fought Orange County races to determine which party will control the U.S. House of Representatives for the next two years . Porter has proven to be a strong representative at a turbulent time in the nation’s history. Voters should be proud to re-elect them.
https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-10-05/orange-county-congress-katie-porter-endorsement Endorsement: Orange County voters should reelect Rep. Katie Porter