Kelli Malott is a second year PhD student at University of California, Irvine studying Environmental Health Sciences. She grew up in a suburb of Detroit and graduated from University of Michigan in 2014. Here is her take on the upcoming election
Full disclosure, I am a millennial and a PhD student. So, forgive me, but I am sick and tired of out of touch politicians. Particularly, I am exhausted by the large number of the liberal elite politicians in Orange County that claim to be for the average worker but fail repeatedly to show it. As I am writing this, the race that is on my mind is that of the Congressional Race for California’s 48th district. I am a new voter to this district. I moved to the 48th from a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. My family of immigrants, a working class, two-income household working to improve the lives of their children, is the exact kind of family that Democratic candidates have lost sight of. The race for the 48th is an excellent example of this.
California’s 48th is a microcosm of the United States. It’s a district that is typically red due to the large number of wealthier individuals that have the luxury to leave work to make it to the polls. However, there is a large disparity in wealth in this district and there are just as many Democrats and Independents as there are Republicans. Furthermore, the diversity in this district by nationality is incredible. Quite frankly, I’m amazed at how Rohrabacher has been able to hold on to this district for so long. This is a symptom of the out of touch liberal elite that I alluded to earlier. The potential in this district to be a force for positive in Washington is astronomical and I am amazed at how long the complacency has lasted in a district as highly educated as this one.
Luckily for me, I have found a candidate that is right for me. One that is a breath of fresh air and not getting enough of a spotlight. While other candidates in this race have been so preoccupied with their petty infighting about which millionaire will contribute more of their own money to their campaign, Michael Kotick has been rising above all that nonsense and working to connect with voters.
I had the pleasure of connecting with Michael when I was reaching out to candidates to get their opinion on funding for basic research. He was the only candidate that responded to me personally. We had lunch to discuss my concerns about the district at the environmental level and science policy as whole. I found Michael’s stance to be very compelling and he asked me a question that no one has ever bothered to ask me since I began my program, “Do you feel supported?” I was taken aback. The fact that a Congressional Candidate went out of his way to sit down with me for lunch to hear my concerns and then ask me if I feel supported was incredible to me. But, as I have gotten to know Michael and the team he has chosen to surround himself with, this is no longer surprising to me. This is indicative of the type of campaign Michael is running and the type of candidate that he is. Moreover, this is indicative of the type of representative he will be.
Michael Kotick has proven to me repeatedly that he has not forgotten about my kind of family, in fact, he came from a family just like mine. He has not gotten lost in the lunacy of this primary race. Michael has stood grounded in his values and has shown how much he cares about the people with every one of the thousands of doors he’s knocked on since his campaign started. Politics today has become more about money and power than about the people. I believe this is a huge reason so many in my generation have become disenfranchised. Michael is working to change that one door knock and conversation at a time. I think it’s time we see past the pettiness and start highlighting those that are putting in the work, not just the money.