Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) held his district swearing-in ceremony Sunday at Royce Hall, where he called for comprehensive immigration reform, support for homeless veterans and action on climate change.
About 900 people, including government officials and residents of the district, gathered to watch Lieu take his oath of office.
Lieu represents the congressional district that includes UCLA and Westwood. He won an election to the House of Representatives in November, defeating Republican Elan Carr and replacing Henry Waxman, who represented the district for 40 years.
Lieu serves on the House Committee on the Budget and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and serves as president of the Democratic freshman class.
In his remarks, Lieu laid out his plans for economic growth through comprehensive immigration reform and support for the middle class through tax credits. Lieu also called for a constitutional amendment to reverse the 2010 Supreme Court ruling for Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
The ruling said individuals and organizations can donate an unlimited amount of money to super political action committees, also known as super PACs. Super PACs can then spend money advocating for or against candidates in an election.
Lieu also spoke about his support for plans to house homeless veterans on the West L.A. Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s land.
Event speakers included UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, UCLA alumnus and actor Tim Robbins, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Congress members Xavier Becerra and Maxine Waters.
Robbins, who befriended then-Assemblyman Lieu during Robbins’ time as artistic director for the Actors’ Gang, a theater group based in Culver City, said Lieu’s integrity, courage and vision distinguished Lieu from other representatives.
Waters said she was not surprised when Lieu was elected president for the Democratic freshman class.
“(Lieu) is the real deal,” Waters said. “I look forward to working with Congressman Lieu to create jobs, protect the environment and help veterans.”
Minutes before Lieu took his oath, the fire alarm went off. The audience shuffled out of the auditorium into the rain as staff tried to figure out where the fire was. Royce Hall staff later said someone had pulled the alarm falsely.
A reception followed the ceremony, where attendees had the opportunity to meet Lieu, his family and his staff.
Aret Frost, a fourth-year political science student and an intern for Lieu’s congressional campaign, said he thinks the ceremony was a testament to Lieu’s public service at the local and state level.
“The speakers attested to his values and accomplishments,” Frost said. “Everybody knew what his values were about.”
Gerald Jones, a writer from Santa Monica, said he thinks it is important for Lieu to continue the work of his predecessor, Waxman.
“It’s crucial that Waxman’s influence be projected into the future, and I can’t think of anyone better to carry that out,” Jones said.
Frost said he is excited about Lieu’s potential constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, but said he doesn’t expect Lieu to get much done for the current session with Republicans in control of Congress.
Lieu said one of his first acts in Congress will be to introduce an updated version of the Safe Climate Act introduced by Waxman in 2007, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.