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Endorsement: Christy Smith for Congress

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Buckle up, Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley voters. The race for the 27th Congressional District is poised to be one of the most competitive in the nation as Democrats and Republicans battle for control of the U.S. House.

Incumbent GOP Rep. Mike Garcia is seeking reelection after a term in office in which he proved to be a Trump enabler and a threat to democracy. He was among the Republican extremists who, outrageously, tried to throw out the votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania by voting against certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 election. And even though Trump incited violent mobs who attacked the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification process, Garcia voted against impeaching Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Garcia declined our invitation for an interview (as he did two years ago when he was running for the first time), so we didn’t get to ask him why voters should trust him with their votes when he’s willing to throw out votes cast by other Americans.

But here’s the way we see it: Government leaders are determined by the will of the voters, and elected officials whose actions defy this central tenet of democracy are undeserving of voters’ support. That’s reason enough to oust Garcia.

Here are the L.A. Times’ editorial board endorsements for elected offices in Los Angeles city and county, LAUSD, superior court, statewide offices, the state legislature and U.S. House and Senate seats.

Here’s another one: He’s actively working to take away Americans’ freedom to decide when they’re ready to become parents. Garcia co-sponsored legislation that would ban all abortions. He voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would enshrine in federal law the right to abortion that will be lost if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, as now appears likely.

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The good news is that voters in this northern Los Angeles County district have the chance this year to get rid of Garcia and replace him with a representative who will respect the sanctity of the vote and the right to make reproductive decisions. There are two excellent choices on the June 7 ballot.

Democrat John “Quaye” Quartey is a retired Navy intelligence officer who recently moved to Santa Clarita after serving in diplomatic offices overseas. He says he was motivated to jump into politics because he was horrified by the Jan. 6 insurrection. He believes that his experience in the military has prepared him to work across party lines to advance the nation’s best interests. He supports Democratic priorities to strengthen voting rights, protect abortion rights and push for gun safety, but describes himself as a centrist who would work to find common ground with Republicans. As a veteran with experience in combat in Iraq and doing intelligence work in Europe and Africa, Quartey would bring valuable experience to Congress.

Democrat Christy Smith is a longtime resident of Santa Clarita who has represented the area in the state Assembly and served on the Newhall School District board. A former U.S. Department of Education policy analyst and current member of a state environmental council, she is a levelheaded centrist with years of relevant experience. In the Assembly, she championed passage of important charter school regulations. Her voting record on abortion issues earned her a top rating from Planned Parenthood. In Congress, she wants to strengthen voting rights, make college and trade schools more affordable and carry legislation to put a social worker in every school that serves low-income children.

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy was caught lying, and few Republicans seem to care.

The Democratic political establishment is divided between the two. Smith’s support largely comes from California and Quartey’s mainly from Washington. Smith has endorsements from the California Democratic Party, numerous state lawmakers and most statewide elected officials. Quartey is endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus; VoteVets, a group that works to help elect veterans; and several House Democrats, including California Reps. Katie Porter, Barbara Lee and Eric Swalwell.

Quartey and Smith both have backgrounds that would make them strong representatives in Congress, but we believe Smith is the better choice because of her deep roots in the Santa Clarita Valley.

When Smith ran for this office in 2020, she did very little face-to-face campaigning because of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. She lost to Garcia by just 333 votes, a margin so small that the official tally calls it a 50%-50% vote. Since then, California’s independent redistricting commission has redrawn political boundaries throughout the state, and this district now has fewer Republicans. With a more active campaign this year, and more favorable district boundaries, Smith makes a strong case that she’s prepared to defeat Garcia.

Voters should have her back.

Read more endorsements at: latimes.com/endorsements.


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