Lieu swears-in, in front of home crowd at UCLA
After local and state officials praised new U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) on Sunday afternoon, the stage was set for the congressman to have his official district swearing-in — but then the fire alarm went off at UCLA’s Royce Hall.\
Upon having the packed crowd seated again, Lieu joked that he was told the audience had made record time leaving and re-entering the building in 12 minutes, and he had no problem waiting for a moment he is still relishing — the confluence of his American dream. After he was sworn-in by Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, Lieu reflected on his journey.
“[My story] is the story of America’s past generations and that of the generations to come,” he said.
Lieu is the son of immigrants who opened a small business and worked hard, he said, and because of that, he felt compelled to serve the country in the U.S. Air Force. Lieu said it was necessary for him to continue to give back to America, a country that had given so much to him and his family. He said he would not forget his immigrant roots, and promised his continued support for comprehensive immigration reform — something he believes will eliminate “the underground economy” and increase the national gross domestic product.
“The one thing no one can change is that every day the rest of America looks more like California,” he added.
Lieu commended the 40 years of work by predecessor, Henry Waxman, and said he hoped to do right by Waxman’s legacy. His first congressional bill will involve climate change, which Lieu said was one of the main reasons he ran for Congress.
“Only one [issue] can kill us and that is climate change,” Lieu said. “We have the facts.”
The congressman said he would make every effort to have his office be a conduit of the people, encouraging calls and walk-ins. Lieu also said he is working on a constitutional amendment that would close the Citizens United loophole in regards to corporations financing elections.
“Too many voices are not included and I want to change that,” he said.
Lieu also said he favors President Barack Obama’s plan to buoy the middle class through tax cuts and other measures, and he added that he would encourage greater investment into academic research.
Before Lieu was officially sworn-in, local and state officials spoke on his behalf, along with actor/writer/director Tim Robbins, who said Lieu is a progressive ally to the people of California.
“It is because of obstacles to progress that we stand here today in support of Ted Lieu,” Robbins said.
U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said the people of the 33rd Congressional District were fortunate to have Lieu as their representative. She first began working with Lieu in the California State Assembly nine years ago, and commended him for his legislative record.
“You have the ability to identify and focus on issues people might not be aware of,” she said. “I’m excited to work with you again.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said his experience collaborating with Lieu during the outset of his congressional tenure has been positive — the two have worked closely together regarding veteran homelessness.
“We need someone who has that undying optimism,” Garcetti said. “He has been someone who already has done things to protect this earth.”
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) went a step further, adding that Lieu already had the attention of senior members of Congress. Lieu was elected the freshman Democratic class president.
“Today the freshman class, tomorrow the United States of America,” Waters said. “They have big things in store for you, Ted Lieu.”