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Election '94 : 29th Congressional District

November 06, 1994|JOHN SCHWADA

U.S. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), 55, has been a member of Congress since 1974. He is married and has two children.

Republican challenger Paul Stepanek, 33, owns a video production company. He and his wife live in Westwood.

Waxman is the quieter half of the well-known political machine named for him and U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City). Blessed with one of the nation's most affluent and influential constituencies (the 29th District includes Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks), Waxman can help open entertainment industry doors for candidates seeking Hollywood's cachet and money.

Waxman is one of the nation's top advocates for stronger health and environmental protections.

As chairman of a House subcommittee on health, Waxman held highly publicized hearings this year to determine if the tobacco industry manipulates cigarette ingredients in order to hook consumers. The panel's findings are likely to play a key role in anti-smoking movement efforts to have tobacco declared a drug and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

The incumbent has also sponsored a federal law to ban smoking in public places, and he has fought to strengthen federal controls over health claims made by the nation's huge vitamin and dietary supplement industry.

In September, Waxman urged a sweeping federal review of the Metro Rail subway program amid growing revelations of shoddy construction. Within days, federal transit officials ordered an audit and froze federal Metro Rail funding.

Stepanek sharply disagrees with the incumbent's health agenda. "I don't personally believe tobacco is a drug and I don't believe in regulation that would make it a drug," he said.

Likewise, Stepanek, once a professional GOP fund-raiser, says the health-care proposals that Waxman favors would be too costly. Although he co-authored a 1992 single-payer health-care plan, Waxman has more recently sponsored the less ambitious Clinton health-care package.

Registration in this district is 58% Democratic, 27% Republican.

Also running is Libertarian Michael Binkley, a software engineer from Westwood.

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