Harley Rouda (D) is running for re-election in California’s 48th District. His opponent, Republican Michelle Steel, is currently on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. In the primary election, Rouda got 46.7% of the vote and Steel got 34.7%, according to Ballotpedia.
“I’m committed at this point in my life serving our country in Congress as long as the voters will have me,” Rouda said.
Rouda created “neighborhood hubs” where voters can drop off their ballots safely. Republicans have wondered why Rouda’s method for collecting ballots hasn't been criticized when theirs has. Various Republican groups have placed gray, metal collection bins in churches, gun shops, and GOP offices across the state of California. A Sacramento Superior Court Judge recently declared that the California GOP can continue collecting ballots this way.
“We provide opportunities to individuals who can’t deliver their ballots to an official ballot box drop off. We provide an opportunity for them to give it to someone who then provides their name and number and information so there is a specific control regarding the passing of that ballot, and then they take that ballot immediately to an official drop off ballot box,” Rouda said, defending his neighborhood hubs. “Unlike my opponent, who is involved in making fake ballot boxes, putting signs on them saying they are official ballot boxes, receiving ballots without a chain of command included in the delivery of that ballot, and then not having any idea what happens to those ballots afterward, is illegal. And that is why the Secretary of State for California, why California’s Attorney General, and Orange County’s Attorney General have all issued cease and desist letters or investigations into their illegal practices.”
Steel has alleged that Rouda has not lowered taxes for Orange County residents and has not paid $200,000 of his own taxes. Rouda tells a different story.
“Let’s start with me paying my taxes. I’ve paid them. Go to harleyroudafacts.com, and you will see a letter from our national accounting firm and a letter from the Internal Revenue Service clearly stating I have paid my taxes. This is an outright lie by Michelle Steel in her campaign,” Rouda said. “I have also featured legislation to roll back the state and local tax restrictions while my opponent has signed a pledge not to do so. And here’s the real difference: Look, I’m not a career politician. I came to Washington with a commitment to work. I am the most legislatively productive new member in Congress versus my opponent who has been a lifelong career politician living off of taxpayer dollars. The distinction between the two of us is very clear, and while she wants to run on lies and deceit, I’ll run on my record.”
Rouda calls himself the “most legislatively productive new member of Congress.”
“I’ve got a great team, and I’m proud of my team. And I’ve also passed three bills in my first term, and it took my predecessor 30 years to pass three bills. And that’s because I’m willing to reach across the aisle. And I’ve done that consistently in all the legislation that I’ve passed, and that’s why the Orange County Register has endorsed me, the United States Chamber of Commerce has endorsed me, firefighters, teachers, nurses have all endorsed me and many more.”
Rouda said many career politicians focus on what separates Democrats and Republicans. He said he’s not like that. He worked with Republican Representative Mark Meadows on a bipartisan bill to improve the federal government's response to the addiction crisis in America.
“That’s why when I won, I committed to voters that I would reach across the aisle; I would always put country and community first. And I do believe most Americans are between the 20 yard lines. We’ve got a lot more in common than what separates us. So I’ve reached out to those across the aisle, even though I disagree with them on lots of issues, there’s a lot of issues I do agree on. And case in point with the bill you’re talking about, Mark Meadows and I both recognize that the opioid crisis is not a democratic issue or a republican issue. It’s an American issue. And we worked together to pass legislation to help reduce the number of overdoses caused by opioids.”
Rouda believes electing Joe Biden as president will help end some of the extreme partisanship we see today.
“Let’s be clear: There will always be partisanship, but what we need to do is reduce it and get back to working across the aisle. Fight for what you believe in, but ultimately, put country over party. That’s my goal. That’s Joe Biden’s goal. And that should be all of our goals,” Rouda said.
Rouda is committed to getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control. He has criticized Michelle Steel for not requiring face coverings in public spaces fast enough.
“That’s a clear lack of leadership. Leadership is setting an example by your own behavior. So to say that, 'Well, why pass a mandate if the Sheriff isn’t going to support it and enforce it,' tells me that she is not capable of leading. She should have come straight out and said, ‘Look, we need to wear masks when we are in public and can’t socially distance. That will help reduce the virus. That will save lives. That will save livelihoods.’ Instead, she did just the opposite, and because of that, unneeded businesses have closed, we’ve prolonged the impact of COVID-19 here in Orange County, and she bears responsibility.”
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