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Greuel Aims to Represent Santa Monica and the Southbay in Washington

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By Jason Islas
Lookout reporter

April 30, 2014 -- When former Los Angeles City Councilmember and Controller Wendy Greuel learned Henry Waxman, the senior congressman who has represented West L.A. and Santa Monica for 40 years, planned to retire, she was on her way to a morning meeting.

The former Dreamworks executive had narrowly lost a 2013 bid to be Los Angeles’ first female mayor and was considering a run for county supervisor when Waxman announced in late January he would not seek reelection.

“I was off in a different direction,” Greuel, a Democrat, told The Lookout Monday.

“I made the decision I wasn’t going to run for anything for a while,” she said. “Lots of people were encouraging me to run for supervisor, (but) it wasn’t in my gut.”

However, after sitting down with her husband and 11-year-old son, Greuel decided she would enter what has become one of Southern California’s most hotly contested political races of the year.

California Congressional District 33 -- one of the wealthiest congressional districts in the nation -- runs along the coast from Palos Verdes to Malibu and includes Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Greuel’s Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood.

“I think I have a strong record of serving this community,” Greuel said. She pointed to her four years working for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), first as the deputy director of the Interagency Council on Homelessness and later as the Southern California regional director.

After serving on the Los Angeles City Council from 2002 to 2009, Greuel spent four years as the L.A. city controller, where she said she learned “what it means to take on special interests.”

A second-generation Angeleno who was born in the San Fernando Valley, Greuel said she has deep roots in the community.

“I think I have a strong record of serving this community,” she said. People want to know “how do we get the economy moving; how are we going to get a transportation system that works; how are we going to protect our environment.”

Her top priorities, she said, are supporting Southern California’s growing transit network, finding new funding sources for affordable housing production after the dissolution of redevelopment agencies two years ago and preserving the district’s coastline and mountains.

With 18 people in the race, most of them Democrats, Greuel is in a “sprint” to be one of the top two vote-getters in the June 3 primary election so she can qualify for the November ballot.

Her main rival is state Sen. Ted Lieu, a Democrat from Torrance with a reputation as an environmentalist. (“State Senator Ted Lieu Wants to Represent Santa Monica, South Bay in Congress,” February 4, 2014)

Like Lieu, Greuel said she supports efforts by the Santa Monica City Council to shut down at least part of the 227-acre airport on City-owned land as early as 2015

Lieu also has a range of local supporters, including Santa Monica Councilmembers Ted Winterer, Kevin McKeown and Tony Vazquez. (“Santa Monica City Councilmembers Back Ted Lieu for Congress,” March 6, 2014)

Greuel also has the backing of local leaders, including former Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, who now represents the bayside city in the state Assembly. Greuel has three other former mayors supporting her bid as well, Denny Zane, Judy Abdo and Paul Rosenstein.

With her resume including work in the entertainment industry, the federal government and as an elected representative, Greuel said, “Out of all the candidates that are running, I have the most knowledge and experience.”

She calls herself a “fighter” and a “warrior” as well as someone who will carry on Waxman’s legacy as a stalwart guardian of Democratic values.

Greuel added, “Let’s utilize the strength of this district and who lives here to change things.”

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