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Ethnicity and Representation

March 12, 1994

In his column (Feb. 28), George Ramos harshly criticized Assemblyman Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) for endorsing me. I am an Irish Catholic. Ramos believes that Polanco should not have endorsed me because of the color of my skin; I disagree.

I was very disappointed with Ramos' remarks. As I read his column, I couldn't help but reflect on the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke of his dream of a day when people would be judged not by the color of their skin but on the content of their character.

As a candidate for an elected office, I believe that my abilities, my accomplishments and my commitment to representing the residents of this district are what matter most.

I served in the Peace Corps in Honduras in the mid-1980s. I learned a lot as a volunteer, about people, about the world we live in, about myself. I learned that we accomplish much more when we work together. My greatest lesson as a Peace Corps volunteer was that all people have similar aspirations. We all want to improve our quality of life. We all want to provide more for our families and loved ones. We all want dignity and respect.

These lessons were not lost on me. There are common threads that connect residents of this district. We have similar concerns, regardless of skin color. We worry about crime, employment, the quality of education, whether or not our children will come home safely from school. I have made it a point to work on these and other issues in our community.

I am running for State Assembly in the 45th District because I want to accomplish more for our community. I know I can make a difference, because I have made a difference. I have worked with the people of this district, from Ramona Gardens to Hollywood, from Echo Park to Eagle Rock. I know the issues and I have demonstrated my commitment to the community.

I understand that Ramos would base his vote solely on the color of my skin, and that is his prerogative. However, I believe that the vast majority of voters will vote for whichever candidate they believe will be most effective and best represent them in our state Capitol.

BILL MABIE

Los Angeles

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