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CA-42: Shepston v. Chau, the OCYD Endorsement Forum

In case any of you missed it, OCYD had its big endorsement meeting for the hotly contested primary race in the 42nd Congressional District on Thursday night. For once, both the Democratic candidates spoke directly to young Democrats in Orange County on the issues that young voters care about. It turned out to be quite an interesting night, and I think everyone was well-served by learning more about the two great candidates running to replace “Dirty Gary” Miller.

So why not follow me after the flip to find out what happened?

The evening began with opening statements. Ed Chau introduced himself, and so did Ron Shepston. And after the introductions, the real fun began with the questions.

First off was a question to Chau on why he’d run in a district outside his own. (Montebello is in the 32nd District, about 5 miles away from the 42nd’s boundary.) Chau responded by stating that he’s the strongest candidate to expose Miller’s scandals, take on his corruption, and actually get elected. Oh yes, and Chau also promised to move to the district if elected.

Next off was the issue of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for both candidates. Shepston first answered by endorsing the “Responsible Plan” to end the war. He then said that the President should give an order to the generals the devise an exit strategy from Iraq while refocusing attention on regaining control of the violent turbulence in Afghanistan. “I want to listen to those that have a vested interest in the peace of the world,” Shepston said. Meanwhile, Chau stated clearly his Iraq policy when he said, Ï’m in favor of an immediate withdrawal. It’s time to bring our troops home.” Of course, he said that in both cases of Iraq and Afghanistan, he’d work with the generals on the ground and ensure that our troops are fully funded and taken care of.

On the issue of LGBT rights, both favored equal rights for all. On choice and reproductive health, both stressed their support of a woman’s right to choose. On making college more affordable, Ed Chau stressed the need for partnerships with state legislators and the business community to reach solutions on higher education while Ron Shepston announced his support for a new GI Bill (to help military veterans afford college)and the need to “treat education like part of our infrastructure”.

When asked about the environment and preserving open space, Shepston admitted that he wasn’t sure of the “best way” to do so. He then stressed that he could bring people together to bring about solutions. And when asked about how to build a “green economy”, Shepston said he supported more research and development of clean energy, as well as doing something to get us all to use less oil. When asked about the environment, Ed Chau immediately announced his support for reducing CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. Chau talked about his support for clean energy, as well as a “green collar jobs” effort to create new jobs through research and development of clean energy. Chau even mentioned the need to get the rest of the world on board in solving the climate crisis and working through diplomatic channels to make it happen.

Soon after, both were asked about K-12 education and “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB)… And tensions rose. Ed Chau stated that he thought NCLB had “good intentions” in trying to ensure every student was proficient in reading and math, but that it was never fully funded and that it unfairly declared students to be “failures”. Chau even brought up how many schools in his own school distict were being listed as failures by NCLB, even though they were meeting state standards. Shepston then sharply disagreed with Chau, saying that NCLB only punishes schools and tries to force teachers to “teach to a test”… Basically opening the door to privatizing education.

More points of contention came during the final questions. When asked whether he could beat Gary Miller in the fall, Chau answered that only the voters could answer that question. Chau talked about how he was passionate about public service, and how he wants to go beyond the Montebello School board in being able to serve on a larger scale. Shepston, meanwhile, exclaimed “I don’t think I’m the better candidate… I know I’m the better candidate!” Shepston talked about how he understands GOP voters, and how he could reason with them. But when later asked how many doors he’s knocked on and how much money he’s raised, Shepston ran into some trouble. He admitted that “not many doors have been knocked”, but that he has a strategy to work around it. Shepston then said that despite early fundraising problems, he’s raising more money now and is spending 4 hours a day every day on the phone. Chau, meanwhile, talked about his weekend walks and his commitment to personally walking precincts three times a week. Chau then announced that his campaign so far has knocked on 10,000 doors, raised over $70,000, and gained the state Labor Federation endorsement.

After both candidates gave their closing arguments, the next round of fun began with the voting. All OCYD members were given ballots, and we all took a few minutes to vote. In the end, the OCYD endorsement was announced…

And Ed Chau received the endorsement. Congrats to the Chau campaign for the good presentation. Oh yes, and many thanks to the Shepston campaign for participating as well and giving us better insight into Ron’s plans for the 42nd. Both are good candidates, and both would do a much better job than “Dirty Gary” Miller. 🙂


  1. Erik with the Shepston Campaign Erik with the Shepston Campaign May 11, 2008

    Ron wanted me to thank you for the post(s). It isn’t very often we get to talk policy and I know both Ron and Mr. Chau appreciate your effort. It may not be the most exciting stuff, but knowing where candidates are, when it comes to ending the Iraq occupation and reinvesting in America’s infrastructure, is extremely important.

    P.S. Happy Mother’s Day Mom! Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there that raised us to be good Democrats!

  2. Andrew Davey Andrew Davey Post author | May 11, 2008


    Thanks. I try. So long as we have great Democrats doing good work in CA-42, I’m more than happy to report it. 🙂

  3. The Lovable Curmudgeon The Lovable Curmudgeon May 11, 2008

    Montebello doesn’t need a second representative in Congress.
    I’m offended that Mr. Chau thinks he’s better qualified to represent the interests of Brea, Diamond Bar, Whittier, La Habra, Mission Viejo residents better than someone (anyone) who actually ALREADY lives here.
    Don’t we have congressional DISTRICTS for a reason?

  4. Lets take a hard look at this! Lets take a hard look at this! May 11, 2008

    The Lovable Curmudgeon,

    The question is who has the best chance to win, an elected official who has connections, or two others who have never ran for office? Ed Chau has raised more money and has more “cash on hand.”

    He also has been going door to door. Ron even admits that he has not done much of that. You can’t win by phone calls alone.

    Finally, let’s be honest the name id of the democrats is low, this will probably come down to ballot title. Who would you vote for, Engineer, Police Officer/Attorney or School Trustee/Attorney? Most people are probably not going to vote for the Engineer. Plus, most will never know Ed Chau does not live in the district. But Ron doesn’t have the money to tell the voters that. It’s sad, but it will probably be what happens on June 3.

  5. OC Watcher OC Watcher May 11, 2008

    Lets take a hard look at this!,

    You have some good points. Hopefully the campaigns will work hard enough and raise enough money that this comes down to issues and who is the best candidate, not just the job title they list. But with less than a month to go I doubt they will be able to blanket the district with mail.

  6. The Lovable Curmudgeon The Lovable Curmudgeon May 11, 2008

    OK folks, I’ll be the one to say what nobody wants to hear…
    CD 42 was drawn to be a SAFE Republican district. Even with a huge anti-Bush Democratic turnout only those seats that LEAN Republican will really be in play this November.
    UNLESS Gary Miller resigns, goes to jail, or has a similar scandal, it is very likely he will prevail in November. Rosie Avila has a better chance of unseating Loretta Sanchez than the Democratic nominee in this contest. So these 3 guys are vying to be the Democratic standard-bearer.
    I’d rather have that standard-bearer be someone who lives among and has a better understanding of the needs of the district, than an ambitious guy who is shopping for a district to run in.
    That’s the harsh reality.

  7. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski May 12, 2008

    I’m sure both Democratic presidential candidates will have some huge coattails that will help Dems in the down-ballot races. I have a source close to the Shepston campaign that says fundraising there has really kicked in.

    I wonder if these guys will hold any sort of debate before the primary?

  8. Andrew Davey Andrew Davey Post author | May 12, 2008


    To answer your question, they already have. They debated at the DNOC endorsement forum last month, and they debated again at the OCYD endorsement forum last week (last I checked, my story on that is still on the front page). But yes, it would be nice to see Shepston & Chau duke it out some more in future debates all the way to June 3. 🙂

  9. just...asking? just...asking? May 12, 2008


    Sounds like it was a great forum for the candidates to talk with OCYD.

    I am suprised that the residency issue appeared to be overlooked. Was Chau so much better that OCYD would ignore the district issue? Understanding that this is a hugh challenge, why would OCYD give Miller such a simple campaign battlecry for November?

    I could understand if there were no in district challenger but that’s not the case in this race.

  10. Donald Anderson Donald Anderson May 13, 2008

    If it really comes down to experience or the location where the candidate lives…I vouch for experience.

    This is the first office that Ron has sought…maybe he should think about running for city council of Silverado canyon or something before seeking such a high office.

    Political fervor does not win elections…experience in office wins for society.

    And blogging doesn’t gather support like walking precincts…you got some big catch up Ron!

  11. Linda Linda May 13, 2008

    Donald, You must live in Ed’s congressional district. Silverado canyon is in unincorporated Orange County and has no city council. It is also, by the way, almost exactly in the middle of this very elongated district.

  12. Andrew Davey Andrew Davey Post author | May 13, 2008


    Linda’s right. Silverado is unincorporated, so they have no city council.


    Donald has a good point about experience. It’s not always a bad thing. But still
    , I think both candidates make a strong case for themselves (respectively). Why not just let them make it?

  13. Paul Lucas Paul Lucas May 13, 2008

    Careful Andrew,
    You might draw some heat from SMS for stating your opinion. :o)

  14. Donald Anderson Donald Anderson May 13, 2008

    Im sorry if i cant get past Ron’s “idea” that he can “get around” precinct walking.

    Does he really think that an effective true blue campaign is run on blogs and a few hours of phone calls to his supporters congratulating himself on his own blog which only focuses on his blog writing ability.

    There is a difference between Chau and Shepston.

    Chau may not be the perfect candidate…but he is a Public Servant.
    Anyone who lives the politico life knows the sacrifice of time and family involved in being an effective and responsible Elected Offical and candidate.

    Chau has been making those sacrifices for years and is well informed on policy and policy execution.

    Oh and by the way…when Ron was asked a genaral questions about college education he took a meta-out-of-touch-comerical media approach..
    “Ron Shepston announced his support for a new GI Bill (to help military veterans afford college)and the need to “treat education like part of our infrastructure”.

    Hows a GI bill help my grand daughter’s college education and increasing tution fees, which we pay for?

    Shepston seems out of touch and apears to be only intrested in his self congratulatory ego/blog.

    This is seen in his direct resonse to a former posting in which he proudly claims that he will not dignify with a direct response. See for yourself…

    I guess ive been around too been many candidates who are only interested in their own personal glorifacation.

    Ed may not be as “apple pie” on the eyes as Ron but hes got the goods.

  15. The Lovable Curmudgeon The Lovable Curmudgeon May 13, 2008

    Wonderful. So Ed Chau should take all of his experience on the Montebello School Board and run for city council, state assembly, state senate, community college trustee, county supervisor, or congress WHERE HE LIVES.
    Which is not the 42nd CD.
    He may be a great candidate, but that doesn’t qualify him to represent ME.

  16. OC Watcher OC Watcher May 13, 2008

    Donald makes some good points. Ron always seems to be angry when someone doesn’t just agree blindly with what he thinks or disagrees. I don’t think that is what we want when the debates start after the primary. Miller would eat him alive.

    Education is a good example of Ed’s experience. Ed talked about his specific problems with NCLB and how he would fix it. Ron’s answer was just to dismiss the whole thing, without specifics on how to replace it.

    Ron should be thanked for making sure Miller didn’t run unopposed again but he is showing his inexperience now.

  17. Grumpy old dem Grumpy old dem May 14, 2008

    OC Watcher, I absolutely agree with you on your stance.

    And to add:

    I met Mr. Shepston briefly and although he is a sharp young man, I do not believe that he has the effective where-with-all to make policy decisions that uphold the standards of modern day democracy. Shepston has a toss ’em some red-meat, John McCain-esquce military answer for most policy oriented questions. I understand that he served in the Air Force which is highly commendable; however, if elected to office, which side of the aisle would he serve, Democrats or Republicans whom identify themselves as military oriented. I have not yet met Mr. Chau, however, I strongly agree with his ideas for re-vamping education and our economy.
    Personally, the matter of in district residence is of little consequence compared to uninformed cheerleading policy implementation. If I had a say in the matter I would vote for Mr. Chau

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