When this columnist read on the Internets that Jane Harman was going to resign from her job as the Congressional representative from California's 36th Congressional District, we spent a moment wondering who would replace her and made a note to get back to that topic. Recently while looking for a column topic we spied something written by Marcy Winograd and figured that we had the answer to our question because the school teacher has been doing well as a Democratic Party candidate trying to wrestle the office away from the incumbent.
On February 7, 2011, Ms. Harman announced that she would be resigning from Congress to become the head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. We learned online that Jane Margaret Lakes Harman had graduated from Harvard Law School in 1969.
Since we lived in that area for several decades, we figured a closer look might yield the ingredients for a good column.
The District was created in by redistricting caused by the 1990 census and there was no incumbent in 1992. We went to a meet and greet event for the candidates hoping to win the new seat which was held at Loyola Marymont University. We saw the array of hopefuls. Ms. Harmon did a credible job of presenting her case and seeming personable.
Marcy Winograd has in two past primary seasons given the incumbent reason to campaign very hard and not take the incumbency advantage for granted. Ms. Winograd got Gore Vidal to speak at one local rally attended by this columnist. She too did a noteworthy job of sounding both sensible and dependable, but she now lives in Santa Monica which is outside the district (according to something Ms. Winograd posted online).
We then learned that Los Angeles City council representative Janice Hahn may seek to become the new congressional representative from the 36th Congressional District in California. Her brother has been the mayor of L. A. and her father was a member of the L. A. County board of supervisors. We wondered if we could do a column about the possibility that political dynasties in the USA are becoming the American version of a title in Great Britain.
Most Americans are aware of the big name dynasties such as the Kennedy family, the Gore family and the Bush family (which may try for a revival via JEB's bid to become the next Republican Presidential Candidate.) How many other American Political Dynasties are in play but are not as well known. How many voters (for example) in Berekeley CA would know (or care) about the Hahn family history down in SoCal? How many other similar mini-dynasties are there around the USA? Since when does a family have a right to a big name factor advantage in free elections? And why?
We can see the potential for a book in using the topic of American Dynasties but we were only looking for a column's worth of information.