Mike Levin Discusses Priorities, Issues In 49th Congressional Race
In our series of interviews with the candidates running for office in the November election, we speak with Mike Levin, an environmental attorney from Orange County who is running to represent the 49th Congressional District, which stretches from Del Mar to Dana Point.
The 49th District race is one of the most closely watched races in the nation as Democrats aim to flip the seat in an effort to take back control of the House.
Levin is running against Republican Diane Harkey, a member of the State Board of Equalization, to replace Republican Darrell Issa, who is retiring at the end of this term.
Hillary Clinton won the district by seven percentage points in 2016, but registered Republican voters still outnumber Democratics in the district.
Q: As a Democrat, how will you appeal to Republicans in the 49th Congressional District?
A: What happened in the primary on June 5th was that when you add up the votes for the four Democratic candidates, we collectively received 51-and-a-half percent of the vote. And the way we were able to do that is by winning (the) vast number of the Democrats that were voting, but also 60-plus percent of the decline-to-states, so no party preference voters. So, I'm going to do everything I can to connect with them. They know where I stand on environmental policy, for a cleaner environment, clean air, clean water. They know where I stand on gun violence prevention, on reproductive rights, and I think if we can connect with, particularly with those independent voters, many of whom are not pleased with the direction things are heading in Washington, we're going to do very well on Nov. 6.
Q: Are you willing to raise taxes to pay for the Affordable Care Act?
A: I would look at the irresponsible tax cuts that this administration passed that really go to those at the very top. Do we need tax cuts for people who really don't need them, or do we need to take care of people's health care? Do we need to take care of our infrastructure? Do we need to shore up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? I'm committed to fighting for everyone in the 49th District, not just those at the top.
Q: What would you do about San Onofre nuclear power plant?
A: I want to roll up my sleeves from the very first day, and hit the ground running working with the local state and national community leaders, environmental leaders and others to really figure out a solution to get that waste off the coast.
Q: If elected, what would be your priorities?
A: The first thing that I would want to do is try to find a bipartisan consensus around environmental protection, clean energy. I look forward to upholding our Clean Air Act without fear that we're going to lose our Clean Air Act waiver. We know in California that we can have a clean environment and grow our economy at the same time. It isn't the only thing that I want to work on. There's so much else — health care being at the top of everyone's list. We need a federal infrastructure policy with a major new investment in our roads, our bridges.
Candidates answered with a YES, NO or OTHER, as well as a short explanation for each question, which can be viewed by clicking on the boxes below. If the box displays an N/A, that means the candidate chose not to respond.
When applicable, responses will include a date that marks if and when a candidate changed their answer.