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U.S. House District CA-39

The contest for Congressional District 39 swung wide open when Rep. Ed Royce announced he would not seek reelection. The district covers segments of Orange, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties and takes in Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Buena Park, Diamond Bar, and Rowland Heights. Voters will see Republican Young Kim and Democrat Gil Cisneros on the ballot and it’s another close race, based on a recent Los Angeles Times-sponsored poll.

Gil Cisneros

Age 47

Philanthropist

Lives in Yorba Linda

Gil Cisneros
Democrat

Young Kim

Age 55

Former State Assemblywoman

Lives in Fullerton

Young Kim
Republican

We sent each candidate a questionnaire to complete. Here's what they had to say.
NOTE: Responses were published verbatim as they were received with no edits for grammar, spelling, punctuation or clarity. Paragraph breaks were added in some cases for legibility.
Click below to switch candidate responses.
Cisneros
Kim
Candidate bio
Katie Cisneros

As the son of a cafeteria worker and Vietnam veteran, I was able to attend college college on the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) scholarship, and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from The George Washington University, becoming the first in my family to graduate college. I also hold an MBA from Regis University and M.A. in Urban Education Policy from Brown.

My grandfather served in WWII, my father served in Vietnam, and I had the honor to serve in the US Navy for 10 years. I have continued to serve by using my good fortune to start a foundation that invests in students from underserved communities and veterans. During my experience in education policy, I have been honored to participate in Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative for college access and President Obama’s Advisory Council for the Arts, and I continue to work closely with Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher and Better Make Room.

Pitch to voters
Katie Cisneros

My entire life has been about service -- from my time in the US Navy, to the foundation I started for underserved students and veterans -- and now I want to continue that service in Congress.

Top district problem
Katie Cisneros

As I speak to the people in this community, affordable healthcare continues to be a top concern. I recently spoke with a mother whose 5-year-old daughter has a pre-existing condition. Because of the Trump administration’s continued attempts to undermine the Affordable Care Act and undo protections for pre-existing conditions, that mother is worried her daughter is going to lose her life-saving care. Healthcare is an issue that’s personal for me. I learned the challenges families face when they cannot afford healthcare when my father suffered health problems from exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam and lost his insurance. My mother went 16 years without health insurance, before being eligible to sign up for Medicare.

Healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and I will fight for increased access and more affordable care for everyone. I will fight for the public option that was originally intended to be part of the ACA, and give people the option to buy into Medicare. I will work to reinsert the individual mandate that republicans took out of the ACA and will lead to 36,000 less people having health insurance in our district. I will fight to ensure those with preexisting conditions won’t be denied coverage. We need to work to stabilize insurance markets and have the government directly negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies to bring costs down.

Constituent concerns
Katie Cisneros

I strongly believe in an open door policy and will commit to holding office hours in the district. I also recognize the incredible diversity of our district, and the importance of having staff that can communicate with community members in their own language. I already have a diverse campaign team reaching out to the Latino, Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Filipino, and Vietnamese communities in our district, and that will continue when I am elected to office.

It's critical that we meet each community where they are, continue to make efforts to reach out and understand their different cultures and concerns, and let them know that regardless of their political affiliation, I am committed to being a representative for them. My job will be to serve the entirety of the 39th District in Congress, and I take that responsibility seriously.

Sanctuary laws
Katie Cisneros

I support California’s Sanctuary State legislation. Studies have shown that communities with high levels of immigrants tend to have lower crime rates. I understand that we need to continue to ensure our communities are safe, and that means creating an environment where immigrants know they can come forward and provide information to law enforcement, without the threat of deportation. Ultimately, it is not the job of local law enforcement to deport families. Our country has been built on the backs of immigrants and serves as a beacon of hope. The Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance policy,” limits on refugees, and hateful rhetoric towards immigrants goes against everything our country stands for.

I visited the border at Tornillo, Texas because I felt it was important to speak out against the separation of families and stand up for our values. I can’t imagine the pain if my own two boys were taken from me, and no family should every experience that suffering. We need to reform our immigration system. It should not take an individual 20 years to become a citizen. The immigration courts are overcrowded and understaffed. Children are put in front of a judge without legal representation, and that should never happen. In Congress, I’ll fight to ensure we never rip apart families. I’ll advocate for comprehensive immigration reform that upholds our promise to DREAMers, provides a pathway to citizenship, and doesn’t fund the President’s senseless border wall.

Gas tax
Katie Cisneros

The Trump administration’s infrastructure plan falls far short of the federal funding that’s needed to improve our country’s roadways, water systems, and bridges. Our nation’s infrastructure plays a vital role in the transportation of consumer goods across our nation. Southern California is a particularly important hub of commerce. Our roads, highways, bridges, ports, and airports, are so vital to the economic success of our nation and our infrastructure deserves a robust federal investment.

Yet the Trump administration is making our state and California commuters foot the bill. I don’t support raising the gas tax because hard-working families shouldn’t have to pay for the Trump administration's misplaced priorities and tax giveaways to big corporations. In Congress I’ll push for a bipartisan infrastructure spending plan that will strengthen our roads, bridges, highways, and waterways. California commuters and communities can trust me to fight for them and not big corporations.

Housing crisis
Katie Cisneros

Too many Californians can’t afford to live where they work — or even where they grew up. The average cost of a home in Orange County is nearly $700K. While the State should take immediate steps to increase the supply of affordable housing options, there are several steps that I would take in Congress. I will fight to increase access to FHA loans and expand the affordable housing trust fund, so that low income families have access to affordable housing. And we have to incentivize developers to build multi unit low cost housing, not just luxury condos. We need to look at land use, resurrect and reimagine redevelopment agencies, and remove the obstacles to getting housing built. Ultimately, we need to create a greater supply of affordable housing options.

In addition, there are more than 15,000 unaccompanied homeless youth and over 11,000 homeless veterans in California, and one third of our homeless are mentally ill. That’s unacceptable to me. There should be no prerequisites where individuals have to meet milestones, such as sobriety and mental health counseling just to be eligible. The VA took some important first steps in this area, and helping our homeless veterans will be a top priority of mine. Addressing chronic homelessness, the most vulnerable first, will help reduce the costs to social services, allowing them greater flexibility to address other segments of the population.

Affordable health care
Katie Cisneros

Again, I believe that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. I know how a lack of healthcare hurts families. My mother had to go over 16 years without health insurance. My father suffered health problems from exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam and lost his insurance. He use to have to go to Mexico to buy his medication because it was cheaper then buying it here. That's not right, and no family should have to choose between paying the bills or paying for life-saving coverage. I'm strongly opposed to the Trump administration's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Because of House Republican efforts, nearly 36,000 people in our district are facing coverage loss.

In Congress, I would reintroduce the individual insurance mandate to incentivize healthy individuals to participate in insurance markets. I will fight for the public option that was originally intended to be part of the ACA, and give people the option to buy into Medicare. I will fight to ensure those with pre-existing conditions won’t be denied coverage. And we need to work to stabilize insurance markets and have the government directly negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies to bring costs down.

Candidate bio
Young Kim

Did not respond

Pitch to voters
Young Kim

Did not respond

Top district problem
Young Kim

Did not respond

Constituent concerns
Young Kim

Did not respond

Sanctuary laws
Young Kim

Did not respond

Gas tax
Young Kim

Did not respond

Housing crisis
Young Kim

Did not respond

Affordable health care
Young Kim

Did not respond