By C. Jayden Smith
This November, incumbent Rep. Mike Levin, who is looking to secure a third term representing California’s 49th District in the House of Representatives, will face a familiar Election Day foe in Brian Maryott.
Maryott, who earned 46.9% of the votes in the 2020 election for the district, sees his chance in 2022 as an opportunity to properly represent the communities of the 49th—something he doesn’t believe Levin has done.
“I don’t think he’s the right fit,” Maryott said. “I think he’s proven that with his voting record and his policy initiatives, and I think we need stronger and more effective representation.”
Maryott, a career businessman and former San Juan Capistrano councilmember, said he has experience in government that has prepared him to be a voice for more accountability and higher government performance in Congress.
Levin, a San Juan Capistrano resident, was raised in South Orange County before attending Stanford University and the Duke University School of Law, his campaign boasts. He also worked as an attorney and the executive director of the Democratic Party of Orange County before his election to the House.
In a phone interview last month, Levin addressed the current political climate regarding abortion and pregnancy loss following the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. He said the decision was “deeply disconcerting” and “appalling” to throw out decades of precedent, reasserting his support of a woman’s right to make personal health care decisions.
“In some states, we’re already seeing the horrifying consequences of criminalizing women’s reproductive health decisions,” said Levin, referring to incidents such as an Indiana attorney general threatening to revoke the license of a doctor who provided a 10-year-old rape victim an abortion.
He added that Republicans would enact a nationwide ban on abortions sponsored by Lindsey Graham if given the chance—although some reports indicate a party split on the legislation.
Maryott said he felt abortion services will inevitably remain safe and legal in most states, and that he did not believe meaningful changes would occur to California’s current abortion legislation.
Regarding public schools, Levin mentioned that his children attend local public schools and expressed his gratitude for teachers and other staffs’ efforts throughout the pandemic. He added that he would continue to fight to fund public schools so they could attract high-quality teachers and reduce overcrowding.
Levin added that it was the nation’s constitutional duty to strive to become a more perfect union by learning from history, and said the current history being taught in schools adequately reflected that goal.
“I don’t think it’s right to divert all of our taxpayer dollars away from public schools and towards private schools, because they often leave certain kids behind,” he said.
Maryott said he favored school choice over an “archaic” system of using zip codes to determine where children go to government-run schools, and he added that he thought a school choice model was inevitable in California.
“Parents want choice, they want influence, they want transparency, to see what’s happening with their children’s education,” he said. “I think the public school system, in particular, in many areas has kind of overstepped a little bit into areas that are more parenting than teaching.”
Levin cited his efforts in Congress to address the “scourge of fentanyl” coming into the U.S., including votes for legislation that would help law enforcement at the southern border near San Diego and sanction fentanyl traffickers and manufacturers.
He also said the country should expand treatment and treat addiction as a disease, rather than a moral failing.
According to Maryott, federal agencies, foreign policy, and enforcement of law and order should reflect a heavy-handed response to the “constant flow of fentanyl over our borders.”
“We’re losing (young people) in record numbers, and it’s tragic,” Maryott said. “We have got to be willing to incarcerate people for long periods of time, if not life, for being any part of the distribution network of fentanyl.”
On public safety and policing, Levin talked about the Invest to Protect Act that he cosponsored along with 85 others, which would provide grants to smaller police departments. The bill was one of four that passed in the House on Sept. 22, as part of a major package that would also provide grants to mental health professionals, fund nonprofit organizations that work to reduce crime, and give grants to police to solve gun crimes.
At the time of the interview, he said he hoped the Senate would also pass the package and pointed to other efforts to acquire funding for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Oceanside police.
“I’m extremely proud of working with our local law enforcement to do whatever I can,” Levin said of the legislation, which is currently waiting for Senate consideration, according to GovTrack.
Maryott, during his interview, was not able to address policing due to time constraints.
While both candidates agree that the spent nuclear waste needs to be removed from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, both had differing takes on how to accomplish that goal.
Levin said his efforts to listen to the feelings of communities that may temporarily host the waste before the federal government finds a permanent repository follows a model that has worked in Finland and Canada.
He also pointed to funding he had helped secure for the Department of Energy to restart a consent-based siting process, and noted his collaboration with other Democrats to try to establish a new nuclear waste administration to seek a repository through changing presidential administrations.
Maryott said that consent-based siting—which gains input from communities that will potentially host facilities to store spent nuclear waste—was a foolish concept, and that the federal government had originally and correctly concluded that Yucca Mountain in Nevada was the only answer for long-term nuclear storage.
C. Jayden Smith
C. Jayden Smith graduated from Dana Hills High in 2018 before pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in digital and broadcast journalism from the University of North Texas. After graduating in December 2020, he reported for the Salina Journal in Salina, Kansas. Jayden loves college football and bothering his black lab named Shadow.