Ten candidates vying for the District 25 U.S. Congressional seat participated in a well-attended and lively forum hosted by California State University, Northridge on Friday, Feb. 21.
Univision 34 Los Angeles reporter Julio Cesar Ortiz ’00 (Journalism and Speech Communication), FOX 11 Los Angeles anchor Elex Michaelson and Rafael De La Rosa, CSUN Assistant Vice President for Government and Community Relations, moderated the forum, which was covered by numerous media outlets and livestreamed by CSUN and co-host College of the Canyons.
Los Angeles Councilmember John Lee led the Pledge of Allegiance to open the event, and CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison welcomed the large crowd of community members.
“I thank each of the candidates for being here this evening,” Harrison said. “Given the issues that face the country and our community, your commitment and desire to serve the community as the elected representative of the 25th Congressional district are appreciated and commended.”
An invitation to take part in the forum was extended to all candidates who qualified to appear on the ballot for the March 3 election — an election that includes both the primary for the seat in the Nov. 3 general election, as well as a special election to fill the remainder of the current term.
Those taking part in the forum included Democrat Robert Cooper III, a university professor; Democrat Getro F. Elize, a patient resource worker; Republican Mike Garcia, a small businessman and father; Republican Courtney Lackey, a mother and businesswoman; Republican David Lozano, an attorney and business owner; Republican Daniel Mercuri, a business owner and father; Democrat F. David Rudnick, a business owner; Democrat Christy Smith, a California Assemblywoman and mother; Democrat Cenk Uygur, a progressive journalist; and Democrat Aníbal Valdéz-Ortega, an attorney and community organizer.
Topics discussed by the candidates ran the gamut, from extending protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to healthcare to housing and homelessness. Candidates also fielded lighter questions, including their favorite TV show and where they would take a first-time visitor to the district that spans portions of the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, Antelope and Simi valleys.
The livestream of the forum is archived at youtube.com/calstatenorthridge.