Irvine's elected representation is mixed from a party perspective. Our City Council is made up of a majority of Democrats, yet our elected officials at all other levels of government from water and school board to the OC board of supervisors to the State Legislature and Congress are almost all Republican.
Congressman John Campbell is one of those Republicans and he'd like to keep his job in Washington, where he represents a big part of South Orange County, including Irvine.
In 2008, President Obama beat Senator John McCain by a slim margin in Campbell's largely Republican 48th Congressional District. This is undoubtedly one reason why Democratic Irvine Councilwoman Beth Krom is emboldened in her challenge of the Congressman. But voter sentiments have changed dramatically since Obama's victory. This district opposed Obama's government health care program, and the 2010 elections lack the anti-Bush and change-agenda craze that helped Democrats in 2008.
Throughout Congressman Campbell's 10 years in public life, both in the State Capitol and now in Washington D.C., he has garnered a reputation as a hawk on budgets, spending and taxes. From his early days in the State Legislature Campbell was sounding the warning bell about unsustainable spending levels and the growth of government. He proposed a spending limit while in Sacramento and continues his budget cutting agenda in D.C. (He sits on the House Budget Committee).
"Overspending has driven our national debt and annual deficits to record levels with no conceivable end in sight under current leadership. But it's important to realize that big government does not just hasten fiscal calamity; but with the addition of new agencies, federal employees, and laws, we are each a little less free to live our lives as we would like and choose," Campbell explains.
Congressman Campbell says the solution to our current problems nationally is to cut spending, reduce taxes to promote economic growth and put people back to work. He claims there is an urgent need to "simply demonstrate some fiscal restraint and responsibility."
Some, including challenger Beth Krom, suggest that Campbell doesn't do enough for Orange County. Congressman Campbell counters that both his Newport Beach and D.C. offices focus heavily on constituent services, helping with everything from applying for, renewing and expediting passports to helping former service members and their dependents get their needs met at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Congressman Campbell also proudly interviews and nominates high school students to the Service Academies.
Most casework is managed out of his Newport office, but in D.C. they set up a wide variety of tours of the Capitol, White House and other national landmarks and arrange to have flags flown over the Capitol in honor of special events.
Campbell is not one of those members of Congress that never comes home. I see him in the district regularly. And you can bet that he will be around even more between now and November.