From the Beachhead Collective: Take A Look At These Candidates Before You Vote on May 17

The Beachhead is not making an endorsement in the Congressional race. However, we believe there are several candidates who merit your consideration.

In this election, it is highly unlikely that any candidate will win outright by receiving 50 percent of the vote. Therefore, you can feel free to vote your conscience. A runoff between the “top two” will be held in July.

The candidates we think deserve special attention are, in alphabetical order: Debra Bowen, Mike Chamness, Maria Montaño and Marcy Winograd.

Debra Bowen has a long association with Venice. She was the attorney of the Venice Town Council when it stopped a mega-shopping center from being built on the Hughes Aircraft site (now COSTCO). As the Democratic Secretary of State, she got rid of voting machines that were too easy to rig. We’re troubled by her signing a pledge to support Israel, at the expense of Palestinians, and by her refusal to sign the Veterans for Peace pledge to vote against more funding for the wars. However, she is a competent and dedicated public servant who, we believe, would be supportive of local issues, such as keeping the post office where it is.

Mike Chamness is the only candidate who has made electoral reform, including getting rid of the unfair “top two” law a major part of his campaign. Chamness, a former Green who is a Coffee Party (the opposite of the Tea Party) member, sparkled at the candidates forum at Westminster Auditorium. He was knowledgeable on all the questions thrown at him and had common sense solutions. He doesn’t have a chance of winning, but a vote for him will bolster his effort for electoral reform.

Maria Montaño is a star teacher making her first run for political office. The major issue in her campaign is education reform. Unfortunately, the candidate’s forum in Venice did not touch on this all-important issue. Her personal story of rising from a low-income working class immigrant family to becoming a doctor of education shows that she has the tenacity to battle the political establishment in Washington. As the only Latina running is a sea of white candidates, she brings a perspective that is not heard nearly enough in Congress. Even less heard, but needed, is the Peace and Freedom Party’s  resolute opposition to war and militarism.

Marcy Winograd is a hero to many in Venice for her primary battles with Jane Harman. Now that Harman is gone, many who wouldn’t dare challenge the incumbent are jumping into the race. Winograd is a dynamic and persuasive speaker, as she proved at the candidate’s forum. Whether she could sway a staid Democratic caucus in Congress is debatable. But it is better to try and fail than not to try at all, and Winograd would certainly give it her best shot. Considering the current state of the House of Representatives, it could use an agitator on the left as much as it could use just another lawmaker. Winograd certainly has the credentials to go toe to toe with John Boehner, or Nancy Pelosi.