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Huffington Strikes a Chord With Seniors : Politics: The U.S. Senate candidate wins cheers in Laguna Hills with his views on family values, less government.


LAGUNA HILLS — About 450 Leisure World residents cheered, some giving U.S. Senate candidate Mike Huffington a standing ovation, as he and more than a dozen other Republican candidates addressed the crowd Friday.

Huffington, accompanied by his wife, Arianna, two daughters, mother and mother-in-law, stressed family values and a reduced role for government during a brief speech at the rally.

"The problem we have in America today . . . cannot be solved by the federal government," he said. "It must be solved by families, the community. All of you remember your parents instilling in you certain virtues . . . responsibility for your actions, courage, compassion and faith. We must instill virtues in our kids . . . so they get a good education, they can get jobs."

His position struck a chord with Alice Chandler, 66. "He talks about the values that I was raised with," she said.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday October 23, 1994 Orange County Edition Part A Page 3 Column 5 Metro Desk 1 inches; 34 words Type of Material: Correction
Huffington appearance--An article Saturday about Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Huffington's appearance in Laguna Hills inaccurately listed the party affiliation of one audience member. Henry Nachinson is an active Democrat.

Huffington was warmly received by the audience, who had greeted previous candidates with polite applause, but cheered at his appearance in the clubhouse, which was lined with hand-lettered signs supporting the Republican slate.

Appearing with Huffington were members of Orange County's Assembly and congressional delegations, as well as others running for statewide office. Among them were lieutenant governor candidate Cathie Wright, state treasurer candidate Matt Fong and secretary of state candidate Bill Jones.

Some in the crowd hissed at the mention of Huffington's opponent, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who Huffington criticized for what he called her role in increasing taxes. "She and I are like night and day. . . . I want to leave your money in your pockets, to pay off your mortgages, to send your grandchildren to school . . . to give to the local church."

He drew applause from the crowd when he alluded to his position against integrating seniors-only housing with residents of all ages. "I will make sure it can survive, if that's what you want," he said.

The issue was close to many in the audience. "I feel he wants to think of the people first and not necessarily to get in office and get what he can for himself," said Ethel Counts, 77. "I support his stance on senior citizens-only housing. We have rights too. We have earned our time."

Huffington made no mention of a topic that was on the minds of many of his listeners, Proposition 187, the statewide initiative that aims to cut off government services to illegal immigrants. Only the day before, Huffington announced that he endorsed the measure, saying illegal immigration is a strain on the state's infrastructure and services.

"It's very important to me," Chandler and many others said as they left. "Illegal immigration is a big problem."

Cele Nachinson, 80, a Democrat, waited in the shade outside for her husband, a die-hard Republican. She reflected many voters when she said she was fed up with campaign tactics used in the closely fought Senate race, the costliest one in congressional history, with the candidates spending a total of $27 million so far.

"My heart is sick at the dirty barbs that each of them are giving," she said. "Can't they talk about what they are trying to accomplish instead of saying, 'Huffington is a louse, Feinstein is a louse'? It's like we are voting for the lesser of two evils instead of looking at the person."

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