As the Nov. 8 midterm election approaches, voters across the country are reading up on their local elections and candidates to determine who they will cast their ballots for when the time comes.
California’s 37th congressional district encompasses USC and Expo Park, as well as the neighborhoods of South Los Angeles, Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills, Miracle Mile, Pico-Robertson, Century City, Cheviot Hills, West Los Angeles and Mar Vista. Candidates in this year’s primary and general elections seek to replace current Congressional Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for the L.A. Mayoral seat.
While the CA-37 primary featured seven candidates, California’s “top two” system — a procedure in which the leading two vote-getters from the primary face off in the general election — pushed only Sydney Kamlager and Jan Perry, both USC alumnae, to this November’s ballot.
Sydney Kamlager is a current member of California’s State Senate, representing its 30th district since March 2021. Previously, she was a member of the State Assembly, representing its 54th district from 2018 to 2021 after winning a special election for the seat.
Kamlager served on several committees in both government bodies, including the Rules Committee, Communications and Conveyance Committee and the Public Safety Committee in the State Assembly as well as the Public Safety Committee, Rules Committee, Appropriations Committee, Budget and Fiscal Review Committee and the Human Services Committee in the State Senate.
While in these government bodies, she sponsored — and cosponsored — bills such as the CRISES Act, the Street Medicine Act, Guaranteed Health Care for All, the California Abolition Act, the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act and the Affordable Prescription Drug Act.
According to her campaign website, Kamlager is prioritizing issues of voting rights, reproductive justice, healthcare, affordable housing and climate change. Kamlager’s site does not elaborate on these priorities; however, in a statement to the Daily Trojan, Kamlager outlined what she believes to be her top issues for the campaign.
“We have an obligation to provide healthcare that is affordable, accessible and of high quality — to every single person,” Kamlager wrote. “I believe that health care for everyone is a human right.”
Kamlager also wrote that she will prioritize fighting voter suppression — in part by passing the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act — and protecting abortion rights.
The Senator expanded on her stance on abortion, writing, “I authored legislation to codify that Los Angeles County is a Safe Haven/Abortion Access county and supported Prop 1 to enshrine reproductive healthcare as a right in our state’s constitution. We need to offer this playbook to other counties and states across the country.”
Kamlager expressed her desire to oversee federal legislation related to criminal justice reform, citing her experience with eliminating pro-slavery clauses from the California State Constitution.
“We have to talk about economic and criminal justice together and make sure policies are fair, just and include due process,” she wrote.
Kamlager is endorsed by Rep. Bass, Senator Alex Padilla, Rep. Adam Schiff and the California Democratic Party, just a few among her supporters listed on her campaign website.
Jan Perry is currently the executive director of the Infrastructure Funding Alliance, “a national initiative to meet future infrastructure, economic development, and environmental challenges.” She previously ran the City of L.A. Economic and Workforce Development Department and served as the L.A. City Councilmember for District 9 from 2001 to 2013.
Perry co-authored “Proposition O,” which worked to better water in L.A. through a number of measures such as “upgrading storm drain systems, eliminating flooding, creating community parks, and improving water quality.” She also developed two areas of man-made wetlands and supported the construction of 5,670 affordable housing units and “permanent supportive housing” for formerly houseless individuals.
Perry’s website writes that she will prioritize a wide range of issues in her campaign. She is in support of congressional measures to expand access to affordable healthcare and wants to hire more healthcare professionals to serve both urban and rural areas.
Perry is pro-choice and will advocate for federal legislation that would protect a woman’s right to choose. She will also “support and fund initiatives that increase access to family planning, invest more intentionally on critical maternal healthcare initiatives and increase availability of Plan B and emergency contraceptives.”
Perry supports comprehensive immigration reform, is an advocate for environmental justice and aims to pass the Universal Background Check for gun ownership through congress if elected.
Perry is endorsed by Rep. Maxine Waters, L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin and the Progressive Democratic Club. The complete list of Perry’s supporters can be found in the endorsements section of her campaign website.
In a statement to the Daily Trojan, Perry stressed the importance of voting in this upcoming election, regardless of where one might be registered.
“This mid-term election could be one of the most important in our lifetime,” Perry wrote. “Our voting rights, civil rights and a woman’s right to choose are all on the ballot. Young people can have a tremendous impact on the preservation of our republic if they choose to flex their power and vote.”
Kamlager corroborated Perry’s call to action in her statement to the Daily Trojan, writing, “You deserve to have a say in the decisions that will drastically shape the future for you and me. Voting in this election and each after ensures that your voices are heard.”