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Lee Rogers: Elect me because we deserve better

Posted: October 30, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 30, 2012 2:00 a.m.

We’re within a week of Election Day, and I wanted to personally lay out the case for electing me as your next representatives for the 25th Congressional District.

The race between Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, and myself can really be summed up as a choice between experience and good judgment.

No one can deny that Congressman McKeon has a lot of experience. He’s been in Congress 20 years and held some type of office for 34 years — as long as I’ve been alive.

But experience isn’t everything. Notably, Bernie Madoff had a lot of experience too, but he wasn’t representing his investors well.

What we need in Congress is someone with good judgment. You want to be sure that when your representative goes behind closed doors to negotiate for you, they’re really negotiating for you and not for themselves.

As a doctor, I make judgment calls every day. I do what’s in the best interest of my patient irrespective of what a pharmaceutical representative may be lobbying me for.

It should be no different in Congress. There are many outside influences with money, but ultimately our representative has to do what’s in our best interest.

I think Congressman McKeon’s judgment has been compromised by special interest money. Studies indicate that McKeon votes in defense industries’ interests 100 percent of the time since becoming chairman of the Armed Services Committee, whereas he voted with the industries 25 percent of the time before that.

His campaign contributions from defense interests increased by more than 400 percent.

In that regard, being the chair of a committee certainly helps him, but it isn’t getting us anything special back here at home.

As a chair, he is a party leader and must vote with the leadership if he wants to keep his position. This term, he’s voted with his party 95 percent of the time. He even turned his back on the district when he voted for the sequestration defense cuts, which will be devastating for the Antelope Valley.

McKeon is also guilty of nepotism. While the practice of hiring family members to run one’s campaign is not illegal, it should be. The congressman continues to employ family members in his campaign.

The nepotism has resulted in $670,000 being funneled into his family over the past 10 years, mostly to his wife Patricia.

I know we deserve better. That’s why I decided to run for Congress. I promise to introduce the legislation to stop Cemex in Santa Clarita immediately upon taking office.

I will work on improvements to the Affordable Care Act, not vote to repeal it and replace it with nothing. I will vote to keep Medicare an earned benefit and not turn it into a voucher and throw our seniors into the private insurance market.

I will introduce ethics legislation to ban members of Congress from paying their families as campaign staff and prevent special perks like the Countrywide VIP loans.

I’ll work to hold those responsible for cleaning up the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Simi Valley. And I’ll fight to keep good defense jobs and aerospace in the Antelope Valley.

I believe in a bottom-up strategy as a representative and you should be telling me what to fight for in Washington, not the other way around.

Finally, in our debate, Congressman McKeon said he’s the better choice because I don’t know how Congress works. My fellow citizens, if taking money from special interests to get things done is the way Congress works, then I refuse to work that way. Everyone is new on the job at some point. I am a quick study. I can learn how to function as your congressman, but I’m afraid that Buck can’t learn better judgment. I’m asking that you trust me with your vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6. I promise to be on your side.

Dr. Lee Rogers is a candidate for U.S. Congress in California’s 25th District. He is challenging incumbent Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita. He is a nationally known podiatrist who lives in Simi Valley with his wife and two daughters.



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