The newly created 44th Congressional District sprawls from San Pedro to Watts and across to South Gate. Its many blue-collar communities have been hard hit by the economic downturn and share a need for jobs, safe and affordable housing, and a representative capable of pushing those priorities in Congress despite the political gridlock that has seized Washington.
The two candidates for the job, Janice Hahn and Laura Richardson, are incumbent Democratic members of the House, pitted against each other as a result of redistricting. Both are savvy and capable, but only one is poised to carry out the job without distractions or unwieldy political baggage. That's why The Times endorses Hahn.
Hahn arrived in Washington less than a year ago after winning a special election to fill the seat left vacant by Jane Harman's retirement in the 36th District. Though a freshman, she is no political novice. Not only is she the daughter of a former Los Angeles County supervisor and the sister of a former L.A. mayor, but she served three terms on the Los Angeles City Council and proved herself a capable advocate for voters. She is a committed environmentalist and a strong advocate for the poor. Though she has sometimes marched in lock-step with labor on proposals that this page has opposed — such as the portion of the Clean Truck Program that would have made it difficult for independent truckers to operate at the Port of L.A. — she has devoted herself to the communities she represents and is skillful at working across the aisle to get things done.