TORRANCE, Calif. — President Barack Obama on Oct. 27 endorsed Democrat Al Muratsuchi in his race for the 66th Assembly District seat, announced the Muratsuchi campaign, adding that the Nikkei candidate is among a select group of state legislative candidates from around the country to be endorsed by the president.
“I am proud to have the support of our great President Barack Obama,” said Muratsuchi, who is campaigning to regain the Assembly seat he held from 2012 to 2014.
“The voters of the 66th District deserve a candidate who will fight for them again in Sacramento. I am the candidate who will protect a woman’s right to choose and Planned Parenthood funding, create jobs and improve our public schools. I will also stand up to powerful special interests to fight for clean air, water, and beaches,” said the longtime South Bay resident.
The 66th Assembly District includes the cities of Gardena, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Torrance, the Los Angeles communities of Harbor City and Harbor Gateway, and the unincorporated Los Angeles County areas of El Camino Village and West Carson.
Muratsuchi, 52, who lost to Republican David Hadley in a heated 2014 race, told the Nichi Bei Weekly in a telephone interview that he’s the only candidate with a proven record of getting things done for residents of the district. “I’ve been fighting for South Bay priorities like jobs, good schools, safe neighborhoods and a healthy environment. If you put my record side by side with my opponent, I’ve delivered for the South Bay on all of those priorities.”
He emphasized the need to keep the Torrance oil refinery safe for the people living in the surrounding areas. Because it is an issue of public safety and environmental concerns, the Democratic candidate announced a detailed refinery plan that calls for greater oversight of the Torrance Refining Corporation to help keep families in the area safe. This plan includes a ban on hydrofluoric acid, real-time air quality monitors, a community disaster preparedness plan and an effective alarm system to warn residents of any emissions.
The June primary’s top vote-getter for the 66th Assembly District contest, Muratsuchi stated that he is “very fortunate” to have a lot of supporters in the South Bay as well as in the Japanese American community, and because his campaign race is one of the top priorities for the Democratic Party, he is also receiving a lot of their support.
Handicapping his chances of winning, Muratsuchi declared, “The best poll was the June Primary Election. I not only beat my Republican incumbent opponent Hadley by more than four percentage points (48.7 to 44.6), but by combining my votes with the votes of the second Democrat that was in the primary (6.7 percent), we were over 55 percent while my Republican opponent was below 45 percent.”
“The voter turnout for the November general election is expected to be higher than the primary, so if the people vote, the Democrats win,” Muratsuchi predicted.
His significant endorsements include the Democratic Party, Gov. Jerry Brown, the California Small Business Association, the Sierra Club, California Police Chiefs Association and National Organization for Women.
Former PSW JACL Director
Muratsuchi is a prosecutor with the California Department of Justice, and a former Torrance School Board member. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and UCLA School of Law. The Nikkei politico also served during the 1990s as the Japanese American Citizens League’s Pacific Southwest District regional director.
With the Department of Justice, Muratsuchi prosecutes consumer fraud and holds corporations accountable. He previously served as a criminal prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, where he cracked down on sexual predators, illegal drugs and other crimes.
Muratsuchi was born on an American military base in Okinawa and grew up on military bases overseas. He has lived in the South Bay for the past 20 years with his wife, Hiroko Iguchi, Ph.D., and their daughter, an elementary school second-grader.
His Republican opponent Hadley has put out “lots of negative ads on TV,” Muratsuchi said. “In fact, he’s running an almost 100 percent negative campaign. He realizes that he’s a politician who’s desperate to hold on to his office and that his only pathway to victory is to tear me down with a Trump-like campaign of lies.”
Muratsuchi’s campaign issued a statement criticizing Hadley for missing the recently-held Assembly Banking Committee hearings that considered reforms and penalties against Wells Fargo Bank for its illegal banking practices. Muratsuchi’s campaign consultant Mike Shimpock accused Hadley of avoiding the hearings because the Republican politician received large Wells Fargo campaign donations and is also a substantial Well Fargo stockholder.
“Again and again, David Hadley stands up for his contributors and against the interests of constituents and consumers,” stated Shimpock. “He stands up for Big Oil and big banks, and against the environment, air quality and consumers. It’s the behavior of a former Wall Street Banker who will do anything to … get contributions and get elected.”
To further complicate matters, Hadley was hauled into Sacramento County Superior Court by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for violating state campaign ethics rules and concealing documents, as reported in Los Angeles Times on Oct. 27. Muratsuchi’s campaign had complained to the FPPC of illegal commingling of funds and illegal coordination between Hadley’s campaign and billionaire Republican Charles Munger’s independent political donor group.