Brett Murdock Interview: Taking On Ed Royce and Bringing Home a Fix to the 57 Freeway!

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Brett Murdock thinks that after 22 years, Ed Royce has gone stale.

Brett Murdock thinks that, after 22 years on the political shelf, Ed Royce has gone stale.

[ED. NOTE:  Do you know how we know that readers want to hear more about Brett Murdock?  Because THE TOP-RATED POST ON THIS BLOG for the past few days has been an article I wrote when he first got into the race — back in the fall of 2015 — that we are not even promoting!  There’s an excitement about this race that may not be showing up in the polls.  So I caught up with Murdock and did something that I rarely ever do: an in-person interview.  Enjoy it; it’s under 1500 words!  — GAD]

Q: What are your thoughts about Ed Royce as a political leader?

A: I think that one of the best barometers of a person’s character is the company they keep.  Ed Royce is supporting Donald Trump – a man who has said an unceasing number of terrible things about women, sexual minorities, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, the environment, etc.

Furthermore, Ed Royce is the Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee and he’s STILL supporting a Presidential candidate that seems to love Vladimir Putin and Russia’s style of governance, who is willing to stumble into a war with Iran, and who wants to betray our NATO allies.  What does this tell you about Ed Royce’s character?

Q: What’s your sense of Royce when it comes to constituent service?

A:  More than a few times, I have had constituents come up to me and ask me about their interactions with Ed Royce.   Time and time again they have told me that he’s a nice man, he’s nice to them, he’s a gentleman, he hears what they have to say, to an extent – but when it comes to taking action, when it comes to making the vote, he disappears.  He’s unavailable.  He doesn’t make the vote, or he votes no.  This is his typical M.O.  He’s, you know, he’s a masterful politician.  Making promises to people and not keeping them.  I will never do that.

Q:  So you’re saying that he’s all “lip service” rather than “constituent service”?

A:  Yes, he’s all lip service.  I’ve heard it time and time and time again from groups that have interacted with him or his office .  I’ve also heard from other people that he doesn’t always even listen – they reach out to his office and they don’t give him the time of day.

Q:  How effective do you think your campaign has been?

A:  I am challenging a longtime incumbent Republican Congressman.  This is a referendum on him.  This isn’t so much about me – this is a referendum on him, and what he’s done, and what he HASN’T done, for this district over the past 22 years.

The three messages of this campaign are:  (1) that he’s an extremist politician, and you’ve seen plenty of examples.  (2) That he supports Donald Trump – that’s what he told the Register in May.  (3) He’s been there for 22 years and that’s long enough.  Those messages are resonating; they’re working.  People are responding to them.

Q:  Why do you think that you’re a better fit for this district than Ed Royce?

A:  Great question.  I’m a family man.  I’m married with two children.  I’ve got a son who’s four year’s old; a baby daughter who’s a year.  Does Royce have children in the district?  No.  Is he a family man?  No.  I know what it means to be a middle-class American.  I know what it means to own a small business and put food on your table for your family.  I can relate to people in this district.

The second reason is: I’m an Orange County Democrat.  In other words, a Blue Dog Democrat.  I’m a moderate, a Democrat who has grown up his entire life in a conservative county and has some fiscally conservative values in him.  Every year when I was on the Brea City Council I delivered a balanced budget.  I pushed hard on the City Council to make our government efficient and not to waste money.

But I AM a Democrat.  I defend the right of two people of the same sex to marry.  I am adamant about protecting a woman’s right to choose.  I think that we have to provide a pathway to citizenship for people that have worked hard in this country.  The reasons that I’m a Democrat are spelled out on my website.

Q:  Has Royce been able to get things for this district in recent years, or is he more worried about global issues?

A:  Ed Royce is an absolute and total opponent of earmarks.  I know that “earmarks” has a bad connotation, but what that means is that this district has been sending its tax dollars to Washington DC for 22 years and has gotten nothing in return.  I will fight for this district to bring our fair share of that money back here – to improve our infrastructure, our transportation, etc.  For 22 years, we’ve gotten 0.

Q:  But isn’t it true that this district may just not have the same amount of needs as other districts in the country?

A:  When I was on the Brea City Council representing the City of Brea on a regional transportation board called Southern California Association of Governments, or “SCAG,” I spent four years studying the transportation infrastructure of Southern California.  It’s a mess.  We’re falling apart.  The maintenance that is required for our infrastructure; the improvements that are needed to build more rail, improve bridges, prepare them to survive earthquakes – all of those things require money.  Again, we’ve been sending money to Washington DC and getting nothing in return to take care of that.  I’ll bring our money back to this district.  It’s our money!

Q:  Can you name a pressing need that this district has for federal funds?

A:  One is a personal one for me.  I represented Brea as a City Council Member and Mayor.  There’s an interchange, at Lambert and the 57 Freeway, that has been on the list to be upgraded for probably ten years.  Why hasn’t it been upgraded yet?  Brea has saved over $10 million to fund it.  The state has set aside $10 million to fund it.  But who’s not coming to the table?  The federal government.  Because of that, that project, which would bring a huge improvement in traffic in the area, has not been done.  And why hasn’t the federal government come to help?  Because your Congressman, Ed Royce, does not fight for you.  I will.

 

Q:  Tell me about your views about marriage equality.

A:  I am very committed to defending and protecting the right of the LGBT community.  And I have a personal story about this.  The first time that I ever really understood, at a visceral level, the value and importance of marriage came from listening to two lesbians.  They were talking at an outreach meeting for the No on Prop 8 campaign.  And they gave testimonials of how badly they wanted to be married to each other.  And it drove home to me, for the first time, how much I was taking for granted, as a heterosexual male, that I automatically had the right to marry whoever I want.  It gave me newfound respect for marriage thanks to their community.

Q:  What makes you think that Ed Royce disagrees with you on this issue?  Don’t you think that he also, in his personal dealings with the LGBT community, would be personally supportive, as many Republicans are, of same sex couples getting married?  Do you think that, in his heart, he’s really bigoted against LGBTs, or do you think that he’s not bigoted but just keeps his tolerance hidden?

A:  I don’t know.  I can’t see into his heart.

Q:  You’re a “Seniors Advocate.”  Can you explain how you got that ballot designation?

A:  I’ve been passionate about seniors for a long time.  It actually starts with my wife, Ronnie, who has her Master’s degree in gerontology, the study of aging.  Over the last ten years that we’ve been together, she has brought issues regarding seniors to me at the dinner table every night.  And ever since then I’ve been working on behalf of seniors.  Not only my law practice, but I’m also President of a non-profit organization that runs an ultra-low-income apartment building for seniors that would likely be homeless were it not for what we do for them in Brea.  My client portfolio in my law practice includes quite a few cases where I’m advocating for seniors in front of the Social Security Administration or anything else that a senior may need.

Q:  You have some signs – I don’t mean your normal signs, I mean the little ones – that seem to have caused a stir.  I think you have three – “22 Years is Enough,” “NO Trump No Royce” and once calling Royce an extremist – that have really been standing out.  Have you gotten much reaction to them?

A:  Yeah, people love them – especially the “”22 Years is Enough” sign.  I don’t even have to mention Royce; they know what I mean.

Q:  Do you think that they’re effective?

A:  Effective enough to steal!  We can’t keep them out there, while the Royce signs seem to stay up forever.  There has been this one guy who’s been going around with a ladder taking down the “NO TRUMP” signs, cutting off the word “NO” before Trump, and then putting them back up!  Crazy.  I almost caught him at it yesterday.  I guess that that means that they must be having an impact!


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)