Jan. 4--California's2nd Congressional District stretches from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border, encompassing some of the state's wealthiest suburbs and some of its neediest rural enclaves.
Anyone representing that district is going to spend a lot of time on the road, traveling between California and Washington as well as up and down the North Coast.
Jared Huffman has been the 2nd District's congressman since 2013, and there's a reason why he has received more than 70% of the vote each of the four times he's appeared on the ballot. Huffman does a good job representing the vast district.
Like his predecessors Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Boxer, the San Rafael Democrat is one of the most liberal members of the House. Like them, he also represents one of the bluest districts in the nation's bluest state. But he has balanced his progressive stands -- such as endorsing impeachment less than six months after Donald Trump took office -- with attention to the needs of his constituents.
Huffman secured millions of dollars in relief for North Bay wildfire victims and disaster aid for fishermen stranded in port due to climate change-related ocean conditions. A recently adopted federal spending bill included a Huffman amendment advancing the Lytton Pomos' desire to build housing near Windsor while providing a guarantee sought by the city of Petaluma that the tribe cannot build a casino in the south county.
Huffman is working with North Bay officials to protect Highway 37 from rising sea levels, and he convened a working group of water agencies, farmers and environmental groups to explore a bid for the Potter Valley hydroelectric project. PG&E is abandoning its operating license, creating a threat to upper Russian River water supplies and an opportunity to restore fisheries on the Eel River. A careful balance is needed, and Huffman is an expert in water policy.
He has four challengers in the March 3 primary, one of whom will advance to the general election under California's top-two system. They are Democrats Melissa Bradley of San Geronimo and Rachel Moniz of San Rafael, Republican Dale K. Mensing of Redway and Charles "Wally" Coppock of the American Independent Party.
Of the four, Moniz stands out. The chief operations officer for Northwestern Mutual, she worked her way up the corporate ladder while raising two children. "My focus is women's rights, and women and children," she told the editorial board, adding that she favors a constitutional amendment to guarantee women's reproductive rights.
Moniz is bright and determined, but, as even she acknowledges, she has a lot to learn about the issues that would confront her in Washington. Congress isn't an entry-level position, but we hope she looks for an opportunity to start a public service career closer to home. If she does, she may be a formidable candidate for Congress in the future.
Bradley, meanwhile, is focused on revamping the family court system, an issue beyond the purview of Congress. To achieve her goal, she should have run for the state Legislature. Mensing, who subscribes to conspiracy theories about the Federal Reserve and chem trails in the sky, and Coppock, a disbarred lawyer with no campaign website or listed phone number, aren't serious candidates by any definition.
The March 3 primary in the 2nd Congressional District isn't likely to be a competitive election, but voters need to choose. The Press Democrat recommends Jared Huffman.