Santa Monica Lookout
L.A. County Dems Celebrate Santa Monica City Council Member
By Jason Islas
October 11, 2013 -- The Los Angeles County Democratic Party has selected Santa Monica Councilmember Kevin McKeown as the 50th Assembly District's Democrat of the Year.
Citing his commitment to affordable housing, a living wage, environmental concerns and other social justice causes, Democratic Party officials said that McKeown, who is receiving the honor for the second time in three years, is an embodiment of Democratic values.
“He's a wonderful mix of elected official and activist,” L.A. County Democratic Party Member Susie Shannon told The Lookout Thursday.
Shannon, who chairs the L.A. County Democratic Party's 50th Assembly District Delegation, nominated McKeown for the honor.
“We're really proud of the work he is doing, particularly for low-income people,” she said.
McKeown, who joined the Democratic Party eight years ago, is happy.
"Democratic values of social justice and affordable housing sometimes play out most personally at the local level, and I'm privileged to make a small difference as a Santa Monica City Councilmember,” he said in an email to The Lookout.
McKeown, who was chosen from a district that includes West Hollywood, Brentwood, Malibu and Beverly Hills, was elected to the Santa Monica City Council in 1998 and again in 2002 as a member of the Green Party.
He first ran as a Democrat during his bid for reelection in 2006 after leaving the Green Party over a row about what McKeown then described as the Green Party's “inability to file legally required political donation and expenditure records.” (“McKeown Leaves Green Party,” May 26, 2005)
Party labels aside, McKeown said he has always been guided by Democratic principles in his political and personal life.
McKeown boasts of casting his first ever vote for Eugene McCarthy and Sargent Shriver, the father of his former colleague on the Council, Bobby.
“Santa Monica is, of course, a great place to be a progressive Councilmember,” McKeown said, adding that he's been able to champion local environmental issues that have now become mainstream concerns.
Most recently, he celebrated voting for adopting the city's Sustainability Bill of Rights, which says that residents as well as the flora and fauna in Santa Monica have the right to live in an environmentally sustainable city. (“Santa Monica Council to Vote on Sustainability Bill of Rights,” March 8)
Shannon singled out McKeown's support of transparency in the Democratic party and his opposition to hydraulic fracking, the process of searching for oil or natural gas by fracturing rocks with pressurized liquid.
She also celebrated his opposition to closing the Village Trailer Park, one of two that remains in Santa Monica. (“City Council OKs Development on Santa Monica Trailer Park Property,” November 16, 2012)
The district's long-time Congressman Henry Waxman also offered McKeown congratulations.
“During his four terms as a Santa Monica City Council Member, Kevin has established himself as a strong progressive who embodies Democratic Party principles,” Waxman said. “Kevin is well respected as a leader on homelessness, affordable housing, and environmental protection.”
Waxman said that it had been a pleasure to work with McKeown “on issues important to the residents of Santa Monica, including the airport, safety and sustainability.”
The Los Angeles County Democratic Club will honor McKeown on October 20 at its annual Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner at the Sheraton Hotel at LAX.
For more information visit the L.A. County Democratic Party website.
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