Two-term Democratic incumbent Anna Eshoo is under challenge for the second time by Republican Ben Brink in the 14th Congressional District, which stretches from Cupertino to Belmont and encompasses the San Mateo County coast. Also on the ballot are Libertarian Joseph W. Dehn III, Natural Law Party candidate Robert Wells and Peace and Freedom Party candidate Timothy Thompson.
In four years, Eshoo, 53, a former San Mateo County Supervisor long active in local and national politics, has created a record as a moderate Democrat who closely attends to the special concerns of Silicon Valley. A strong promoter of the 1995 Securities Litigation Reform Bill, making it harder for lawyers to bring frivolous lawsuits against companies, she mustered a House override of Clinton's veto of the bill. She has also has been active in efforts against California Proposition 211, strongly opposed by Valley firms.
In other areas, Eshoo's voting record is not strongly pro-business. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave her only a 33 percent rating out of a possible 100, disagreeing with her record on regulatory flexibility and reform, a balanced budget resolution and property rights. The liberal Americans for Democratic Action gives Eshoo's record an 85 percent of a possible 100, agreeing with her votes against the welfare reform bill and against restricting habeas corpus appeals by death row prisoners. The environmentalist League of Conservation Voters rates Eshoo's record at 100 percent.
Brink, 43, chief operating officer for a chip manufacturer and a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, finds fault with Eshoo's record. He would have voted for the welfare reform bill and favors broad capital gains tax reductions, as opposed to the targeted ones Eshoo favors. Both candidates are pro-choice, but disagree on Proposition 209, which Brink supports and Eshoo opposes.
Though Brink has no voting record, he is a business-oriented candidate who advocates greater return of federal power to state and local governments, as exemplified by the welfare legislation. But we continue to be impressed by the record Eshoo has created. She has risen to the challenge of representing the diverse interests of the 14th District in Congress and we support her re-election.
Republican Ted Laliotis, 56, a former Los Altos mayor, believes more business professionals like himself (he retired last year after 18 years at Hewlett-Packard) are needed in government. "Career politicians should yield to business professionals who better understand the district," he says. The pro-choice Laliotis says he'd like to reduce the regulatory burden on business, but sees few issue differences between himself and his opponent. Both oppose Proposition 209.
Democrat Ted Lempert, 35, a lawyer who has served in government for the last seven years, is seeking to re-enter the Assembly after three years on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. In 1992, he left his 20th Assembly District seat to run in a Democratic Congressional primary, which he lost.
Lempert says that with term limits in place in Sacramento, it's important to elect people who can accomplish things quickly. As the youngest member of the Legislature when he served in the early 1990s, Lempert has proven that he can, spearheading ethics legislation and an oil spill prevention and cleanup law. Lempert already has an impressive grasp of the details of county and state issues, and plenty of ideas for making things better, including a systematic overhaul of the state's education code. We believe he would most effectively represent the 21st District.
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