I had the unique opportunity of meeting U.S. Representative Mark Takano of California at a campaign event for Massachusetts State Representative Carl Sciortino on May 28th, 2013. Rep. Sciortino is currently running for Ed Markey’s congressional seat and Rep. Takano was giving him, his formal endorsement.
Takano’s election made history in 2012 when he was elected as the first gay Asian American to the U.S. Congress. He also became the first Democrat to be elected in California’s 41st District, one of the state’s highly Republican districts, in a long time. His district primarily includes Riverside and Moreno Valley.
During the event, Takano and I discussed the current immigration bill being debated in the U.S. Senate. He expressed his confidence that the bill will pass because of the significant Republican votes. Although they do not like the bill, Republicans are being pressured by their interest groups such as the Chamber of Commerce to vote for it. However, Takano, being part of the gay community, voiced his disappointment about the LGBT couples exemption component not being included in the final bill. He did have high hopes that the US Supreme Court could take action in overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, despite concerns whether the institution of marriage could go back to the states.
In addition to immigration, the Representative is passionate about social security, and Medicare/Medicaid issues as well as education. When he entered Congress, he and Congressmen Alan Grayson drafted a letter stating they will vote against cuts to Medicare/Medicaid issues and social security. Furthermore, as a former teacher in the Rialto Unified School District, Takano plans to focus his work on increasing access to education for minority students. He has co-sponsored the House Version of Student Loan Fairness Act, Equal Access to Quality Education Act, and Project Ready STEM Act.
Overall, I felt very honored to meet him and look forward to see his future actions in Congress.