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GOP Opponent Makes Economy His Chief Issue : Rep. Anderson, 75, Runs Strongly for 11th Term

October 16, 1988|CHRIS WOODYARD | Times Staff Writer

Giant freighters and cruise ships glide through the Glenn M. Anderson Ship Channel to reach their berths in the Port of Los Angeles.

In Long Beach, a bronze plaque marks the dedication of the city's popular Transportation Mall to Congressman Anderson.

A little farther inland, construction continues on what is popularly known as the Century Freeway. But now, it has been officially named the Glenn M. Anderson Freeway.

Anderson receives honors frequently these days. They are as much an expression of gratitude for his ability to steer big federal projects to his district as they are in recognition of his 20 years in the House. And this year, he became chairman of the Public Works and Transportation Committee, which decides how to distribute funds for buildings, roads and other projects throughout the country.

At 75, the Harbor City Democrat is well past the age when many people consider retirement. He underwent heart surgery about three months ago. But he insists that he is not about to slow down.

"My doctors tell me I'm going to live . . . another 30 years," Anderson said. "I'm going to be here. Somebody has to be here."

Anderson is running for an 11th term. He trumpets his record in bringing federal money into job-creating port and transportation projects as he faces three challengers for reelection in the 32nd District, which includes parts of Long Beach, Lakewood and Downey, and San Pedro, Lomita and Hawaiian Gardens.

He has traditionally had few reelection worries. He faced his closest race when he was first elected in 1968, receiving a scant 51% of the vote. Since then, he has never garnered less than the 58% he received in 1982 against Brian Lungren, brother of Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Long Beach), after redistricting.

In the election two years ago, Anderson triumphed with 69% of the vote.

This year, his Republican challenger is Sanford Kahn, a sales engineer for the Southern California Gas Co. who has not previously run for elective office.

Kahn, 44, does not take issue with Anderson's accomplishments in bringing federal projects to the district. Rather, he says the incumbent is no longer representative of the district.

"He votes for tax increases," said Kahn, a Long Beach resident. He also criticized Anderson as being one of the few members of his own party to oppose a U.S.-Canada trade pact. "Philosophically, Glenn and I are 180 degrees apart," he added.

Anderson campaign spokesman Hal Garvin said that over the last 20 years, the congressman has approved both tax hikes and cuts but that he is a "very thrifty person" and "has consistently been a supporter of free trade."

Kahn said that given his age and years in office, Anderson should consider stepping aside. "Anderson isn't being aggressive. You're not just a representative of the people. You're the employee of the people. You're not the employer," he said.

Garvin said Anderson has not only been aggressive, but has also based his vote on the views of his constituents, rather than his own opinions.

Kahn, who is making the economy his chief issue, said he would limit government spending instead of raising taxes. He would favor giving taxpayers an income tax deduction on some interest and dividend income to spur savings and investment.

The congressional seat is also being sought by Libertarian Party candidate Marc F. Denny, 44, a Hermosa Beach business consultant and real estate investor, and Vikki Murdock of Lakewood, who lists her occupation as "worker/student." Denny is calling for cuts in government spending and said he wants to present a third-party alternative. Murdock could not be reached for comment.

So far, Anderson has waged a low-key campaign. He has made a round of speaking engagements before civic groups, opened campaign headquarters in Long Beach and bought some billboard space.

Anderson said he expects to spend about $400,000 in the race, about the same as two years ago. Campaign records show that from January to June, he spent $77,261 in the race and ended the period with a war chest of $257,967 for the general election.

Anderson has little difficulty raising campaign funds. He has received strong support from local maritime-related companies and unions, as well as political action committee money from construction and transportation-related companies and groups.

Among the larger contributors, the United Parcel Service PAC gave $7,000 and the Federal Express PAC gave $13,135 in the last fiscal year.

Walks 5 Miles Daily

Despite undergoing quadruple-bypass surgery in July, Anderson said he is feeling fine. "I can run, I can play tennis," he said. "I walk 5 miles a day."

It also has not slowed his work pace, he said. He made the transcontinental jaunt between his district and the capital 43 times last year. Congressional spending records show that he scrupulously flies coach even if it means taking flights that stop along the way.

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