Katie Porter, the Democratic candidate for the 45th Congressional District, cast her ballot while participating in Early In-Person Voting at UCI alongside Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan at her Ballot Drop Off Rally on Oct. 30.
Porter greeted supporters at the Cross Cultural Center before casting her vote in front of the Aldrich Hall flagpoles. Following the event, she walked with New University reporters for a private interview regarding her platform and the upcoming election.
The congressional candidate shared her expectations and hopes for UCI students in the midterm election.
“I would love for every UCI student to exercise their voice and vote in this election. It’s one of the closest races in the country, and what this campus does will really make a difference, not just here in Orange County, but with what goes on across this nation and around the world. This is our time on our campus to step up and be leaders,” Porter said.
Porter also addressed questions regarding concerns of conservative constituents while running a progressive campaign in Orange County, a previously Republican stronghold.
“We’re winning voters across the political spectrum. This election is not about your party registration — it’s about your values and about your beliefs,” Porter said. “It’s about the kind of country you want us to be [both] here and abroad, so we’re reaching out to folks no matter how they voted in the past, and we’re asking them to take a hard look at what’s going on in our country and make change.”
Elaborating on this point, Porter emphasized the importance of making every voter’s voice heard.
“I’ve heard from people all over Orange County [regarding] how concerned they are about what’s going on in Washington… [voters] want to see positive change,” Porter said. “They want a government that respects the Constitution, that respects the checks and balances that our founders created… [and] that respects all humans and the dignity of all people.”
When prompted on immigration reforms following the Abolish ICE (Abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement) movement, Porter described her stance on immigration policy. While the movement began in 2003, it was recently brought into mainstream political discussion amidst controversy over the Trump administration’s family separation policy.
“America is a nation of immigrants, and we see right here on this campus and around Orange County how much immigrants contribute to our economy and to our society,” Porter said. “We need comprehensive immigration reform in Washington, and for too long politicians have refused to do that and instead are trying to use issues of immigration to divide us from each other.”
She continued by saying, “I think we need to honor our promises to DREAMers — they’re young people who came here, they’ve been working hard, they’re trying to get an education, they’ve come forward, [and] they’ve paid taxes… we promised them a path to citizenship and we need to make good on that promise.”
In January, President Trump promised a path to citizenship in an immigration deal for DREAMers, recipients of the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act. DREAMers are undocumented youth or DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients who entered the United States before the age of 18.
In the wake of the Oct. 27 Pittsburgh mass shooting, where assailant Robert Bowers killed 11 worshippers and injured six others in Jewish synagogue Tree of Life, Porter summarized her thoughts on American gun reform policies.
“Hate and violence have no place in this country, especially in our places of worship. I condemn the Pittsburgh attack [and] I condemn the shooting that occurred in Kentucky. At the same time, we have to stand up to hate. The rhetoric that is coming out of the White House is damaging our country and its moral leadership,” Porter said. “My condolences and sympathies go to the victims and their families, and to the survivors who had to live through that experience. We need champions for common sense gun legislation in Washington.”
“We know how to save lives from gun violence,” Porter said. “It’s doing things like having a national system of background checks, closing gun show loopholes, [and] requiring background checks for high-magazine ammunition.”
She concluded her thoughts on common sense gun legislation by commenting on Mimi Walters, the incumbent representative and Porter’s opponent in the election.
“Mimi Walters is aligned with the NRA — she’s received contributions from them, and she has made it clear time and time again that she will stand with the gun lobby and not with the common sense gun safety rules that Orange County families want. People here value their safety in their schools, in their places of worship, and in our community, and that’s what I’m going to fight for in Washington.”
Following the initial interview, Porter elaborated on plans for the future beyond the district if elected, speaking on government and election reform as well as improvement in the political process.
“My top priority would be to End Citizens United. On October 4, I led a coalition of over 100 House candidates who are calling on Congress to make a government and election reform bill the first item on the agenda for the next Congress in 2019. The American people deserve representatives who will fight against the special interest money flooding into our nation’s capital,” Porter said.
The 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court case prohibited the government from restricting independent expenditures in communications, thereby deregulating funding for political campaign spending. End Citizens United, founded in 2015, is a grassroots funded Political Action Committee dedicated to campaign finance reform.
“I will never take a dime from corporate PACs. We need a Congress that will create policies that benefit the people they represent, not the corporations who cut them the biggest checks. Read more about my Ending Political Corruption plan,” Porter said.
Key elements of Porter’s plan would include “reforming the role of money in politics to ensure more transparency and accountability in our elections, eliminating foreign money from our political system, [limiting] the undue influence of mega donors and special interests, and [incentivizing] small dollar donors; as well as lobbying reform, ethics reform, redistricting reform, and voting rights protections.”
November 5: A previous version of this article did not include quotes regarding Porter’s plans for the district and beyond. Additional responses were given in follow up questions after the time of publication.
Quotes have been edited for clarity and conciseness. Katie Porter will be on the ballot for the midterm election on November 6. Republican incumbent Mimi Walters did not reply to an interview request at the time of publication.
UCI will provide on-campus polling places on election day. Polling locations can be found at https://www.asuci.uci.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/uci-polling-locations-map-2018-ge.pdf.