Q&A: Laura Friedman. National Issues are Local Issues

Laura Friedman (D) is running in California’s 30th Congressional District.

5 mins read
Laura Friedman smiling for the camera
Laura Friedman is a candidate for the 119th Congress. Photo: Campaign
This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series 2024 General Election Candidates

Laura Friedman is running to succeed Congressmember Adam Schiff in California’s 30th Congressional District. She was apologetic for being a few minutes late to our scheduled phone interview. 

“It is super busy right now,” she said. “I just had a Hollywood Chamber of Commerce meeting in my office. Chambers of Commerce do a lot of good work. It’s nice when they come and bring a whole group. We had so many people that we couldn’t fit them all in my office. I’m very excited to be in the position that I’m in right now. I’m looking forward to the general election in November and going to Congress next year.”

Q – You had your daughter with you the last time I met you at Senator Liu’s home.  

A – She’s my tag-along on the weekends. When she was born, I was on the Glendale City Council. She was three years old when I was elected to the legislature. So, she’s very used to her mom being in elected office and being a little bit different than other moms. She was about five years old when she told me, “Not all mommies go to Sacramento.”

“Arizona’s abortion laws are having a huge impact on California.”

Laura Friedman

She’s starting to realize that she has a unique perspective and experience, like being on the floor of the California legislature and attending special events. I always talk to her about the nonprofit events we attend, what they’re for, what the people care about, and what they’re doing. She knows people volunteer in service and give back to their community in so many different ways. I hope she grows up with an appreciation for volunteerism and service and takes that seriously as an adult.

A person and a dog walking on a sidewalk
Laura Friedman and family. Photo: Campaign

– You’re on the big national news media agenda now. How has it affected your focus?

– National issues are local issues. For example, Arizona’s abortion laws are having a huge impact on California, on our ability to protect our doctors or caregivers and our patients. So, the national issues are very local, especially with regard to funding. What the federal government chooses to invest in is hugely determinative of our priorities, how our communities look, and whether we can combat climate change and provide health care to people.

These are issues that people may think of as being local, but they have a very strong genesis in federal policy. So, I’m focused on how all of those federal issues impact my constituents right here at home.

– Do you have any federal laws you might want to submit for consideration to Congress?

A – There is a whole bunch of items. I focus on the nexus between housing, climate goals, and public transportation. I’m looking into how the federal government can support those goals.

We have California programs that accelerate our progress toward our housing and climate goals, strengthening partnerships between regional, local, county and tribal governments. It’s about transformative projects around affordable housing and better public transportation projects.

We can look at this work nationally so we can invest in the community by building federally funded programs that will help with our housing and climate crises, creating policies and funding sources that are linking these issues and moving them together.

I want to work on issues around toxic materials like PFAS pollution.”

Laura Friedman

One of the things I’m always asked is how can you help with the housing crisis.  Federally, there are a lot of ways. I’m considering having a nationally updated housing plan every single year in response to changing conditions and how the country views the housing crisis. I’m doing it in conjunction with our climate and transportation goals.

I want to work on issues around toxic materials like PFAS pollution. We still have so many toxic materials in our consumer goods, in our mattresses, etc. I had to ban several of these products here in California, but it doesn’t seem fair to me that someone should be safer when they buy personal care products or cookware in California than they are in other parts of the country.

The FDA and the EPA should work to remove toxic food and chemicals from consumer products, which is something that I want to continue to work on. I also continue to work on connectivity and biodiversity issues and ensure that we find ways of preserving nature and protecting wildlife across the country, such as wildlife crossings over highways and preserving our most important biodiversity hotspots. I have a very long laundry list of things.

– How can you help the California budget by being in Congress?

A – This is going to be a terrible year for the state of California, so it’s even more important that we have representatives in Congress that are willing to fight for issues we’re underfunding here – to help with issues like healthcare access, affordable housing and homelessness, substance abuse treatments, even getting us ready for the Olympics and cleaning up our streets so that it’s safer to move around our communities. These are huge needs. We’re going to need help with the Olympics throughout the whole country and not just for California.

– Do you have any town hall meetings planned for the next few months?

– We tend to do about six every session. It’s one of my favorite things to do and a great way to connect with constituents to bring those issues forward. We just did one about understanding accessing unemployment benefits. This was focused on the JPL layoffs, but it was open to anybody, of course, and helping with the EDD process.

“It is really important to help people understand how to harden their property in their homes because of wildfire threats that are growing because of climate change.”

Laura Friedman

We have an upcoming town hall to help seniors understand scams, help families stop predatory behavior and find ways to be proactive. We also have another one on wildfire preparedness. It is really important to help people understand how to harden their property in their homes because of wildfire threats that are growing because of climate change. We have them all over the district, but we’ve been experimenting with doing some hybrids, where we have them in person but also do some broadcasting.

Q – Will you be participating in any debates?

– The League of Women Voters always does a televised forum. We’re waiting for them to schedule, but we’ll probably also do something on the west side of the district as a freestyle, something that makes the most sense to our constituency and our schedule. I’ve made myself available to multiple groups, and I’m happy to do it rather than having a forum with just sound bites – something that is a bit more conversational. And I’m glad to advocate for Pasadena. It’s part of my district.

Pasadena is a fabulous, historic, beautiful, vibrant community. I’m very excited to be a part of it. I’ve lived in Glendale since 2000, so I certainly spend a lot of time in Pasadena. Whether it’s going to antique malls or great restaurants, Pasadena has always been a big part of my life.

I’m really excited to be representing the Rose Bowl as part of the community, and I can’t wait to dive in. I am available for different civic groups, NGOs, or any group in the district that wants to reach out. I’m looking forward to getting to know all the members of the community.

Series Navigation<< Q&A: Elizabeth Wong Ahlers. Generational Consequences
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Sheryl Turner

Sheryl is Local News Pasadena's Publisher and Pasadena Media Foundation's Founder. When not saving local news, she devotes her spare time to finding the best meatloaf in town.
Email: [email protected]

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