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Local Issues, Congressional Races Enter the Countdown : Incumbents Face Soft Opposition in Race for Congress

October 23, 1986|MIKE WARD | Times Staff Writer

Hempel said that both he and Noonan addressed a small group of perhaps 30 protesters who picketed Dreier's office last spring to protest the congressman's support of the contras .

But, Hempel said, most Democrats in Congress oppose the Administration's policy in Nicaragua and sharing that view should not make him an unworthy candidate.

Avoids Defending Record

As to qualifications for office, Hempel said he has a doctorate in American government, worked for local and state governments on urban planning and economic development and studied public policy questions for 12 years.

By avoiding his opponents, Hempel said, Dreier forecloses the opportunity for cross-examination.

"He has a record that he needs to defend," Hempel said.

Hempel said Dreier has given voters in the 33rd district, which covers much of the east San Gabriel Valley, the impression that he is a moderate, but in fact he is rated by the National Journal in its analysis of voting records as one of the most conservative members of Congress.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday October 26, 1986 Home Edition San Gabriel Valley Part 9 Page 2 Column 6 Zones Desk 2 inches; 50 words Type of Material: Correction
A story in the Times' San Gabriel section Oct. 23 incorrectly stated that Charles M. House, Republican candidate in the 34th Congressional District race, has not been endorsed by the Republican Party. In fact, he has received endorsements from President Reagan, the California Republican Party and the California Republican Congressional delegation.

Noonan, 46, the Peace and Freedom Party candidate who is making his fourth run for Congress against Dreier, said he is fighting a drift in politics toward the right.

Aping Republicans

He said the Democratic Party seems to be ready to emulate the Republicans, abandoning its liberal approach and becoming a "me, too party."

Noonan said he believes the campaign against the reconfirmation of California Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird is leading the push to the right, and he is making support of her a central part of his campaign.

Noonan, a hospital pharmacist, polled 2,371 votes in 1984 while Dreier got 147,363, or 70% of the vote.

Dreier said that although he is not debating his opponents, he is talking to voters every day, answering questions and defending his record.

'Conservative as They Come'

He labels himself as "moderate to conservative." Some groups have looked at his voting record, he said, and have concluded that he is "as conservative as they come," but on environmental issues, he said, his voting record puts him among mainstream Democrats.

Dreier, 34, earned degrees from Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate School and won election to Congress in 1980, defeating incumbent Democrat Jim Lloyd.

He voted this year against both the tax reform and immigration bills, measures that Hempel said he would have supported.

Dreier said the tax measure did not provide fairness or simplification; Hempel said he opposes some of the bill's provisions but supports its shift of some of the tax burden from individuals to corporations.

Both Dreier and Hempel said they are concerned that the immigration bill, by imposing sanctions against employers for hiring illegal aliens, will discourage employers from hiring Latinos or anyone who looks like they might be from a foreign country. Dreier said he also opposes the bill's amnesty provisions, which Hempel supports.


Deputy Sheriff Charles M. House is fighting an uphill battle in his bid to unseat Rep. Esteban E. Torres (D-La Puente) in the 34th Congressional District.

A conservative black Republican, House, who has not received the endorsement of the Republican Party, is trying to win in a area in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2 to 1.

The district stretches from Baldwin Park and West Covina on the northeast through South El Monte, La Puente, Industry, Pico Rivera and Santa Fe Springs to Norwalk and Artesia on the south.

A spokesman for House said his supporters have raised more than $50,000 to finance his first bid for public office. Torres, who is seeking his third term, has more than $106,000 in his campaign chest, said Bob Alcock, his administrative assistant.

Questions Ties to SBA

House has characterized Torres as a liberal who represents a conservative area.

He and his supporters also question whether Torres should continue to serve as a member of the House Small Business Committee, which oversees the Small Business Administration. Before he was first elected in 1981, Torres received a $150,000 loan through the agency to start an import-export business.

"I find it unconscionable that a member of Congress has continued to sit on a committee which oversees a program he has been a beneficiary of," House stated in an letter he sent to the House Ethics Committee earlier this month asking for Torres' removal from the panel. The Ethics Committee has not acted on the request.

Torres was a private citizen when he received the loan from the Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Co., an independently operated firm licensed by the Small Business Administration to aid minority businesses, Alcock said.

Loan Was Paid

When Torres was elected, Alcock said, he turned the business over to his wife to operate. In 1985, the loan was paid off, Torres said.

Torres described himself as a moderate who reflects the desires of his constituents. He said unemployment is one of the major issues facing his district.

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