Press Telegram

Long Beach, CA

(and Daily Breeze, Los Angeles, CA)

 

Two Democrats competing to try to unseat Rohrabacher in 46th District

By Sandy Mazza, Staff Writer

Posted: 05/28/2010 06:10:02 PM PDT

 

Both men know that they have a slim shot at victory come November.

But computer specialist Ken Arnold and Jay Shah, a retired physician, are competing for the chance to take on longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in the general election.

Arnold and Shah are competing in the June 8 election for the Democratic nomination to represent the 46th Congressional District, which stretches from Orange County through parts of Long Beach and San Pedro and encompasses most of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Rohrabacher, who served as a speech writer for former President Ronald Reagan, will be seeking his 12th term in office He has maintained a strong base in the heavily Republican district with his opposition to illegal immigration, support for offshore drilling and his personal affinity for surfing.

Arnold said he is not intimidated by Rohrabacher's advantages in November.

"Regardless of winning or not, I feel the campaign is important for a couple reasons - one is to discuss the issues," Arnold said. "The other is to get out our base of voters in this district" to vote in the governor's race.

Arnold, 56, is a Fountain Valley resident who grew up in Tustin as the oldest of three brothers. He studied biochemistry at USC but dropped out to help his family. He went on to study computer information systems part time and start his own family.

Arnold now has two adult sons and is married to his second wife, Thanh-Thanh

T. Ho, a Vietnamese woman who he hopes will endear him to the district's large Asian community.

Arnold's became involved in politics when he volunteered for the 1988 presidential campaign to elect former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. He got even more involved after the disputed 2000 presidential election.

"I got pretty much immediately involved in election protection," Arnold said. "I was concerned about the rise of electronic voting systems and the potential for fraud and problems. Shortly after 9-11 and the run-up to the unnecessary war in Iraq, I just got more involved."

He volunteered with Veterans for Peace and, in 2008, ran for the 68th Assembly District based in Costa Mesa and Fountain Valley.

Arnold said he believes the district needs a more liberal representative.

"Government does have a valid role and it is not the enemy," Arnold said. "There's a need for government services to protect us in various areas - consumer protection, oversight of business. I'm not for excessive regulation, but wherever people are involved there is room for corruption."

Arnold said he would push for financial support from the federal government to keep the area's schools and infrastructure sound until the economic crisis abates.

In contrast, Shah, 73, of Long Beach said he would be single-mindedly focused on ending political corruption if elected.

"The whole system is to a point where we need a revolution," Shah said. "If you have a cancer on your hand, do you keep talking for 10 years or would you go to the doctor and have your finger cut off? We should remove (corrupt politicians) forcibly by protesting."

Shah grew up in India and lived in England and Nova Scotia before moving to the United States in the early 1970s. He joined the Air Force when he was 42 to serve as a physician, and went on to work as a doctor for Los Angeles County. He is married with two sons.

Shah made his first bid for elective office in 2004, running against Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe. He challenged Knabe again in 2008, and blames him for more than a decade of mismanagement.

Rohrabacher, Shah said, is responsible for "war, corruption, financial stealing, cheating, bribing, military taking over, big corporations taking over."

If elected, Shah said he would support a $150 fine for anyone who doesn't vote in elections. He said he would not take any salary and would only serve for a maximum of four years because he supports term limits.

"We have to do something drastic about term limits," Shah said. "Corruption grows more and more because nobody's protesting. (Long-term politicians are) our in-house terrorists. They push themselves to a point where they're like a dictator, nobody can remove them."

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Paid for by Ken Arnold for Congress - FEC#C00475830


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