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It’s Finally Time to Put the Community and People of Los Angeles First

I’m running for Congress because our community is suffering, yet our current politicians put our neighbors in harm’s way every day.

Image: David Kim

During the past decade the corporate incumbent has been in public office, conditions in our CA-34th Congressional District have only gotten worse. The cost of living and rent have increased at least 30-60%, while wages have not. Homelessness, poverty, debt, and lack of resources and care continue to keep our CA-34 as one of the poorest congressional districts in the country, one of the districts with the highest number of children living in one household unit because rent is too high, and one of the districts in LA that received the lowest number of PPP loans for small businesses during this pandemic that our district is still suffering consequences from. Our district even had the lowest self-response for the 2020 Census in the entire state.

Yet career politicians — such as corporate incumbent Jimmy Gomez — go around, patting themselves on the back, saying that they’re “proven progressives” fighting for big change, when all they’re doing is adding their names as co-sponsors to a few popular progressive bills here and there.

I had the chance to meet the corporate incumbent earlier in 2021. Although he was very cordial, there’s not much else I can say about him, be it his leadership, his vision, his passion, or his goals — because he had none. He stood for nothing, was passionate about nothing, and only provided a career politician’s talking points during the entire conversation I had with him. I gave the incumbent a list of activists, organizers, and organizations he could reach out to in order to speak with them and co-govern with them. I also shared information about the issues our campaign had fought for, from universal basic income, healthcare for all, and a homes guarantee to banning corporate PAC money, and more. Yet, nothing happened. He didn’t reach out to these organizers and activists for the next year. He didn’t speak with them or listen to what was hurting their communities, or what needed to be fought for in Washington and here at home.

Representation that lacks communication and co-governance with the people is the kind of representation that we don’t need anymore, and the kind of representation that, thankfully, will soon be coming to an end.

This 2022 primary cycle, the people of Los Angeles have the chance to vote for and elect a wide number of 100% people-powered, heart-led, smart progressive candidates for City Council seats, citywide seats, county seats, and state and federal seats. It’s exciting. There’s hope.

We have candidates running who truly care for the people and who have been doing the work, day in and day out, to show that they care. We have 100% people-powered campaigns that refuse to accept any corporate PAC or special interest money. And we have a conscious, heart-led electorate that has been steadily growing over these recent years as well.

In our congressional race for CA-34, the corporate incumbent’s general election votes decreased from 110,195 votes in 2018 during his reelection campaign to 108,792 votes in 2020. My campaign, in addition to securing previous challenger Kenneth Mejia’s 41,711 votes from 2018, brought in 54,843 more votes (and new voters) to the 2020 election, landing us at a total of 96,554 votes and voters. And this cycle, in 2022, we’ll bring in even more new voters, helping us secure our win over the corporate incumbent in this race.

There is a critical mass growing, with hope and help waiting for us just over the horizon. But winning this race won’t be an easy fight, given the recent lies and attacks that the corporate incumbent has shared against our campaign. We know this corporate incumbent won’t easily give up, as our campaign is a direct threat to his long-term career in politics. 

In 2017, right after being newly elected to represent our district in Congress, the corporate incumbent filed papers to run for California’s lieutenant governor in 2026. He has continuously filed this paperwork since then in order to secure his run. If he were to lose a congressional race, it would definitely hurt his chances for a successful run for lieutenant governor in 2026. That’s why he’s attacking our campaign with lies, so he can scaremonger constituents into reelecting him and choosing the status quo.

Just a few days ago, our field director texted me pictures of mailers that the corporate incumbent had sent to constituents, accusing me of hiding $65K from the Federal Election Commission in the last election, as well as hiding assets and stock information from the public. In regards to the first dishonest assertion of fact, one of our previous campaign staff members made filing mistakes when she helped prepare and submit FEC filings for our campaign last cycle. Later, one of our staff members fixed these mistakes by correctly listing all contributions and expenses for the campaign. Once the mistake was realized, it was addressed as quickly as possible. The FEC accepted the revision. Nothing was ever gained or profited, as the public records reflect.

In regards to the attack mailer’s second accusation that I’m hiding my personal assets and stocks, all I own is student debt from law school. I didn’t consider this worthy of disclosure, but I am personally very open about it. I, like many Americans, am burdened with student debt, which is one of the things I’m fighting to reform to help bring relief for millions of people in our country.

The incumbent conveniently failed to state any of this in his attack mailers, instead creating lies to fit his fear-mongering narrative. This kind of dishonest portrayal and assertion of lies as facts is troubling. This type of petty leadership — and waste of energy, money, and time — is not what we should blindly commit to reelecting and sending to Washington over and over again.

After almost losing to us last cycle, the incumbent had the opportunity to step up, roll up his sleeves, and get to work by leading on comprehensive housing legislation or becoming a loud champion for universal basic income in Los Angeles. The incumbent could have worked closely with county, city, and federal officials to help rapidly fund and support permanent supportive housing for our residents; declare a state of emergency; and get things done. But he didn’t.

We are living in desperate times where leaders must act and lead with urgency, yet career politicians like the incumbent aren’t doing that. Instead, we’re left without elected officials that will represent the people and honestly fight for housing, financial freedom, love, and justice for all of us.

The corporate incumbent pockets more corporate PAC money than a majority of Republicans in the House and Senate, from Big Pharma, Big Oil, major energy companies, banks, military defense contractors, real estate developers, private prisons, student debt collectors, and more. These underlying corporations all receive cutbacks and benefits from the government at the expense of the people. One of the incumbent’s corporate PAC donors, Poet LLC, a fuel company, was one of Trump’s biggest donors, and received subsidies totaling nearly $50 million dollars in recent years.

CA-34 has had its fair share of the corporate incumbent’s failure to act. He failed to lead by not authoring or co-sponsoring major comprehensive legislation that would significantly help our residents and communities. His voting records show his failure to be on the right side of history. He failed to help leverage the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework to pass Build Back Better, instead voting to authorize and fund ICE, approving increased bloated military budgets, approving the Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act, and voting for the omnibus bill that ended funding for the COVID costs of uninsured people.

And rather than divesting corporate PAC and special interest money, each election cycle, he takes more and wastes millions of dollars on mailers, with five to ten mailers sent to every constituent during every primary and general election cycle. He focuses more of his time trying to secure his political career and climb up the ladder, instead of fighting for big life-empowering changes that our people and communities need; he is not the kind of leader who will fight for us here at home and in Washington.

We’re just about two weeks away from Primary Election Day on June 7, with mail-in ballots sent out and voting already underway. I’m grateful and excited to be on this journey with constituents, Los Angeles residents, and supporters everywhere who are trying to make our district, and world, a better place for all of us. Since starting this campaign, we’ve met so many people who have expressed their disappointment in the government and in career politicians who fail time and time again to improve their lives. We hear them. We understand. We know.

We’re entering a new era of political consciousness, integrity, and people-powered victories. So, keep your head up and your hope alive. We’re about to see an unprecedented number of these victories in local electorate politics this June and November, so long as we continue to be steadfast in our commitment. We’re almost there. It’s finally time to put the community and people of Los Angeles first.

David Kim is endorsed by Ground Game LA, which is the parent organization of Knock LA. This article was not paid for by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.