Rep. Elton Gallegly (R)
California 24th District
The city of Simi Valley is a product of the 1960s, the expansive postwar years when migrants from points across the United States went west to Los Angeles and then spread beyond city and county limits to fill up barren valleys between the mountains. With their work ethic, varied skills, and appreciation of the local environment, they brought a distaste for the crime and civil strife that seemed all too common in Los Angeles during that turbulent decade in U.S. history. The valleys of Ventura County, west of Los Angeles, filled up with people building new communities in what had been orange and lemon groves. Like California overall, the Ventura County population has trended socially liberal and economically conservative. To the south is upscale Thousand Oaks, one of the safest large cities in the nation. Farther west in Pleasant Valley is Camarillo. In the inland valleys still farther west are Santa Paula and Ojai. Academy Award nominee Sideways, which dealt with the abundant consumption of local wines by two friends, was filmed in nearby Buellton. Looking out toward these valleys and to the Pacific beyond is the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in Simi Valley. Housed there are 55 million pages of presidential documents and a large piece of the Berlin Wall, which Reagan famously urged Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 24th Congressional District of California includes the interior of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties (most of their coastlines are in the 23rd District), plus a stretch of the Ventura County coastline and the Point Mugu Naval Weapons Test Center. The Santa Barbara County interior is lightly inhabited. It includes the small towns of Lompoc, Solvang, and Santa Ynez, near Reagan’s beloved cabin in the mountains. It shares Vandenberg Air Force Base and the five Channel Islands and their steep cliffs with the 23rd. Most of the population is in eastern Ventura County. Politically, these areas trended Republican, but were more marginal in 2008. The district voted 56% for President George W Bush in 2004, but gave Democrat Barack Obama a 51%-48% edge four years later.
Rep. Elton Gallegly (R)
Elected: 1986, 12th term.
Born: March 7, 1944, Huntington Park .
Home: Simi Valley.
Education: Los Angeles St. Col., 1962-63.
Family: Married (Janice); 4 children.
Elected office: Simi Valley City Cncl., 1979–80; Simi Valley mayor, 1980–86.
Professional Career: Owner, real estate firm.
The congressman from the 24th District is Elton Gallegly, a Republican first elected in 1986. Gallegly (GAL-eh-glee) grew up in the working-class suburb of Huntington Park in Los Angeles County, the son of Dust Bowl migrants from Oklahoma who resettled in California. He dropped out of college and became a real estate broker, then started his own successful real estate business. In 1979, he was elected to the Simi Valley City Council and a year later became mayor. He built his campaign for the U.S. House on his record on economic development for Simi Valley. In the Republican primary, he ran against Tony Hope, son of comedian and actor Bob Hope, and won. He went on to win the general election overwhelmingly.
|Elton Gallegly (R)||174,492||(58%)||($737,060)|
|Marta Ann Jorgensen (D)||125,560||(42%)||($11,927)|
|Elton Gallegly (R)||45,124||(77%)|
|Michael Tenenbaum (R)||13,446||(23%)|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (62%), 2004 (63%), 2002 (65%), 2000 (54%), 1998 (60%), 1996 (60%), 1994 (66%), 1992 (54%), 1990 (58%), 1988 (69%), 1986 (68%)
Gallegly has a moderate-to-conservative voting record and has played a mostly backstage role on major issues. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, he has been one of the Republican hard-liners on the issue of illegal immigration in recent years. He once proposed that public schools be given the option of turning away the children of illegal immigrants because of the cost of educating them. He also advocated a constitutional amendment to deny citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants, an end to welfare for illegal aliens and a tamperproof identification card for immigrants. In 2007, he sponsored a bill to require the Internal Revenue Service to report people suspected of working illegally in the United States to the Homeland Security Department.
Gallegly passed up several opportunities to chair a Judiciary subcommittee and declined to serve as a House manager during the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. He was more interested in becoming chairman of the Natural Resources Committee. But in 2003, Republican leaders passed over Gallegly and other more senior Republicans to give the gavel to Richard Pombo of California, a favorite of Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Gallegly was passed over again in 2009 for the top Republican slot on the committee, which went to Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington state. His treatment by the leadership contributed to Gallegly’s decision to retire from the House in 2006. But he was persuaded to stay by contrite Republican leaders, who faced a tough battle for control of the House that year and did not want another open seat to defend.
Gallegly is ranking Republican on the Europe Subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In 2004, he was able to pass a resolution calling on the United Nations to respond to the threat that Burma posed to Southeast Asia. Locally, he had helped to save the Point Mugu Navy base, threatened with closure in 1996. He worked to get a wing of 16 E-2 radar planes assigned there, as well as two new C-130s that would be used to fight forest fires.
In 2003, Gallegly spent a few days campaigning for governor in the recall election, but withdrew because he lacked statewide name recognition. In his re-election campaign in 2008, Democratic challenger Marta Jorgensen accused him of ignoring the district, but she spent less than $12,000 compared with Gallegly’s $737,000, and he won 58%-42%. His earlier inclination to retire from Congress, plus Democratic aspirations, could make this district a target for redistricters in 2011.