I have taken an interest (a political interest) today in a woman whom I have never met. Her name is Denise Moreno Ducheny. She is an immigration lawyer and lives in Imperial Beach, San Diego County. She is a veteran of the California State Legislature. She has announced that she will run for California’s 51st Congressional District this year. This district includes Imperial County and far Southern San Diego County. It does not include, or even come near to, Orange County.
Why is she on the front page of this blog?
Her opponent in the race, which is all-but-certain to stay within the Democratic Party, is the man who replaced her in the State Senate. His name is Juan Vargas. (I’m not going to provide a link to his campaign site.) A week and a half ago, Vargas received the recommendation of voters within the 51st Congressional District for the California Democratic Party’s endorsement in this race — although, like all who did so (including me), he can be removed from the party’s consent calendar and voted on directly by the entire assemblage of delegates.
But why is former Sen. Ducheny on the front page?
In 2010, then-State Sen. Ducheny voted for California to adopt a statewide single-payer health care system.
Today, State Sen. Vargas was one of four Democrats who abstained on the vote on SB 810, which would have sent our state’s single payer proposal to the State Assembly, making it possible for the Governor to sign it. The bills would not only have saved lives, but would have boosted the state’s employment environment (as employers would no longer have to factor health care costs into salaries) and saved the state money in the long run.
Aside from Vargas, the other three who abstained were Alex Padilla, Michael Rubio, and Rodney Wright. The bill therefore failed to clear the Senate; it needed 21 votes but failed on a vote of 19 for and 15 against.
Two of those “no” votes were State Senate Democrats. One, Lou Correa, has a district entirely within Orange County. The other, Ronald Calderon, will next year begin to represent Buena Park within the State Senate. Meanwhile, he’s running in a district that includes the City of La Palma to try to oust Rep. Linda Sanchez from Congress. She is the younger sister of Loretta Sanchez and is one of the best Representatives we have in Southern California.
You’ll be hearing a lot more about that race in the months to come.
So — why is Sen. Ducheny on our front page? It’s simple.
She’s not one of the day’s villains who doomed countless California residents — including many in Orange County and many of them Latino — to an existence without adequate health care, just to get campaign contribution from the state’s bloated insurance industry. And her opponent is.
(If Lou Correa were running for something this year, his opponent’s photo would be here.)
So, in addition to our other coverage this year, we may be adopting Sen. Ducheny’s campaign for Congress. This is the day that California single-payer was killed for the two-year session — and we will not let it go unmarked.
Our best wishes of the day to Sen. Ducheny, for not being Sen. Vargas. We’ll have more on Sens. Correa and Calderon when the time is right.