Congressional candidate Christian Daly remembers the moment when he decided to dedicate himself to serving the community.
After graduating from USC, the former deputy supervisor for L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger tried his hand in Hollywood and spent a year acting, but on a plane back to Los Angeles after a trip he began to rethink his career.
“I want to say it was a short amount of time that the realm of policy opened itself up to me,” Daly said. “I was selected for the California fellows program. I got a job offer from Assemblyman Steven Bradford — he’s now in the State Senate — and got accepted to Pepperdine school of public policy.”
Daly is running against popular Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) for the 27th congressional district.
Daly hopes to break the log jam in DC by remaining nonpartisan and focusing on helping people, instead of engaging in party politics.
“Public service should be nonpartisan,” Daly said. “But that’s exactly the situation which our nation is in, and that divide goes down from DC to our dining room tables. Not too long ago we all gathered around the table for Thanksgiving. And I know a topic that was off the table was politics. It shouldn’t be about a party, but it should be about the community.”
The local product attended Elliot Middle School in Altadena and graduated from Blair high school when he was just 16.
His father is a Latin American immigrant, a disabled U.S. Army veteran of the U.S. Army. His African-American mother was born in the Deep South.
Daly did not feel he was ready to attend a university. After Pasadena City College and USC, he decided to pursue his Master at Pepperdine University. By then he had changed his mind about becoming a lawyer which he explained to his dad during his tour of Pepperdine.
“It’s kind of like being on the beach, you know, with a bucket and a shovel and you’re moving sand: it’s one case at a time. And every so often you may get a crest again in one of your cases,” Daly said. “But with public policy, you’re on that same beach, moving the same sand but with the bulldozer.”
Daly graduated with honors, specialized in state and local policy and international relations.
Despite his positive attitude, Daly has an uphill battle.
Chu (D-Pasadena) has been a San Gabriel Valley political mainstay since the mid-1980s.
In 1985, Chu was elected to the Garvey School District Board of Education. From there, she won a seat on the Monterey Park City Council, where she served as mayor three times.
In 2001, Chu entered state politics, winning a seat in the state Assembly in 2001.
After terming out of that office, Chu was elected to the State Board of Equalization in 2006.
In 2009, the former junior college psychology professor became the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress when she won the special election that year for the then-32nd Congressional District after then-Congresswoman and now-LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis was appointed Secretary of Labor by President Barack Obama.
Since then, Chu has won re-election five times with at least 60 percent of the vote in four of those contests. Three of those victories have come against perennial Republican candidate Jack Orswell.
Since 2012, Chu has been representing Pasadena and the West San Gabriel Valley that with redistricting that year became the 27th District.
Currently, the 66-year-old lawmaker serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has filed a lawsuit to obtain President Trump’s long-sought tax documents. The Ways and Means Committee also has jurisdiction over legislation pertaining to Social Security and Medicare.
On that committee, Chu is a member of its subcommittees on Health and Human Resources, Worker and Family Support, and Oversight, giving her responsibility for issues related to health care reform and safety net programs.
Daly has his own policies. He’s dedicated himself to combatting the schools to prison pipeline and is interested in economic situations that have forced young families to leave Pasadena.
“I respect Judy and I am grateful for her and her service, but it’s not about what you are facing, but rather what you are working towards and for,” Daly said.