Waxman a “legend”

06/13/2014 5:09 pm0 commentsViews: 9

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Calling Rep. Henry Waxman a “legend” and a
“fierce advocate” of issues important to Angelenos, the City Council declared
today “Henry Waxman Day in L.A.” in honor of the long-time congressman, who
is retiring after nearly 40 years.
Councilman Paul Koretz called Waxman, D-Beverly Hills, “one of the
truly great figures of modern politics and governance,” saying the lawmaker’s
list of achievements includes a “vast array of landmark legislation.”
Councilman Mike Bonin said due to the legislation “pushed and
shepherded” by Waxman, “the air we breathe and the water we drink and the
lives we lead are better, directly.”

Henry Waxman

Henry Waxman

“There has not been a more fierce advocate for the things that matter
to our quality of lives and the things that matter to the neighborhoods of Los
Angeles than Henry Waxman,” Bonin said.
Waxman, who attended the City Hall presentation held in his honor, said,
“This is a wonderful honor to have this tribute, and I’m alive to hear it.”
The city has always been part of his district, which shifted a few times
since he joined Congress in 1975, he said.
He said he has worked with Los Angeles city leaders through the years
“to do what we could at the federal level, whether it was to make sure there
were funds for transportation, or the health and environmental protections we
benefit from in L.A. when we passed the Clean Air Act.”
He said the first hearing he ever held on what “we later learned was
AIDS and HIV” was not in Washington, D.C., but at a gay and lesbian service
center in Los Angeles.
“L.A. has always meant an enormous amount to me,” he said.
Waxman is “one of the most important and influential progressives in
the history of the United States Congress,” according to Bonin.
He credited the legislator with getting important laws passed in the
areas of environmental protection, air and water quality, tobacco regulation,
women’s reproductive rights and AIDS research and treatment.
Those laws include the Clean Air Act, the Ryan White CARE Act, the Food
Quality Protection Act and the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control
Act passed, he said.
Waxman was also among the first to respond to the plight of people
suffering from the AIDS epidemic, Bonin said.
In 1991, “when a generation of my community began to die, men in cities
like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York were appearing with lesions on
their skin, going blind or suffering from horrific diseases that the human
population had never seen before,” according to Bonin, who is gay. He added
that when no one else paid attention, Waxman took notice.
While others were calling for quarantines and other measures, Waxman
championed more public education and research, Bonin said.
Councilman Bob Blumenfield, once an aide to Rep. Howard Berman — a
close ally of Waxman’s — said the legislator already was a “legend” 20 years
ago.
“(Waxman) inspired an entire generation of progressive leaders,” he
said. “He pushes for what is right. He doesn’t compromise on his principals.
At the same time he doesn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
“We are going to miss you in the halls of Congress and we welcome you
to spend more time in L.A. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you’ve
done,” Blumenfield said.
Waxman told Video News West after the presentation he plans to “stay in
touch with the city officials of L.A.”
“Whatever I can do, Congress is not the only place to do good things.
City Council, the state Legislature, but just being an active citizen is
important,” he said.
Waxman was born in Boyle Heights, attended Fremont High School in South
Central Los Angeles and later moved to the Westside, where he attended UCLA.
He also served six years in the state Assembly.
He announced in January he would not be seeking a 21st term in Congress.
Republican Elan Carr, a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office,
and Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, will square off in the November general election
for the right to succeed Waxman representing the 33rd Congressional District.

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