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We Don't Need a Carpetbagger in House Seat

September 12, 1993

* The last thing Orange County needs is another carpetbagger in Congress ("Second Thoughts?" Newswatch, Aug. 31). But apparently that's precisely what the GOP elite in Orange County have planned for the 47th Congressional District. Party Commandant Thomas A. Fuentes and his loyal votary would like Bruce Herschensohn to come on down to Orange County from Hollywood to run for the congressional seat if it is vacated by Christopher Cox. Herschensohn "would be the most magnificent candidate the party could offer the people of Orange County," Fuentes has remarked.

Who asked Fuentes and his motley crew to "offer" voters in the 47th District anyone? Whatever happened to the idea of the people deciding who is the "most magnificent candidate the party could offer the people of Orange County"? That's why we have primaries. Partisanship aside, this just isn't right; not for the legitimacy of the democratic process and certainly not for Republicans in the 47th District.

Orange County already has one carpetbagger in the House--"Hollywood Bob" Dornan (R-Garden Grove)--we don't need another.

Carpetbagging is possible because the U.S. Constitution does not require members of the House to live in the district they represent; they need only be "inhabitants" of the state they are elected to represent in the House.

The 47th District needs a member of Congress who is not only familiar with the specific interests, needs and problems of its residents, but actually shares them because of a common residential experience. This requires the election of someone who has actually lived in the district and for more than just a few days before announcing his candidacy. Representatives would be connected to the people they represent, explained James Madison, by a "communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments." In a state as large and diverse as California, this connection cannot possibly take place when the representative has never lived among or with the people to be represented.

Bruce Herschensohn is surely a talented, and many say high-principled, individual who might make an outstanding U.S. representative from a district he has lived in and knows well.

It is hoped that Herschensohn has enough faith in the principles of political representation envisioned for the House of Representatives by Madison, et al., to turn down the GOP's invitation to carpetbag in the 47th District.

MARK P. PETRACCA

Irvine

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