Candidates in 2018
California 45th is a nonpartisan group which does not endorse a single candidate or party. The information below is presented as a resource for you to do your own research regarding candidates for the California 45th Congressional Seat. The following information has been provided directly by the candidates, or taken from their public profiles (we have edited only for formatting and not for content). Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name. Only candidates who have filed the required paperwork with the Federal Election Commission are listed here.
I was born and raised in Tustin. It’s where I built my first computer, started my first company, and took my first college course. I've spent my life using technology to help others, from the Peace Corps to the White House.
As a Senior Technology Adviser in the Obama White House, I worked to help solve some of the nation’s most critical problems. I helped to launch initiatives such as TechHire, a White House program in 72 communities across the country that trained and hired thousands of Americans for high-paying tech jobs.
I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the remote town of Jinotega, Nicaragua, where I worked as a high school teacher and taught business and IT skills to aspiring young entrepreneurs.
Later on I co-founded a national phone company that lowered the cost of international phone calls by 90 percent, saving rural Nicaraguans millions of dollars.
Most recently I founded the research group at the world-renowned MIT Media Lab and advised world leaders on blockchain, a revolutionary technology often described as “the next internet.”
But I care a lot about my community and its role in our country.
Our values are being challenged by an Administration hell-bent on taking us back to injustices of the past
I won’t tolerate the rhetoric against the LGBTQ community, immigrants, women, and others. Republican elected officials are talking about our family and friends – the people we love most in the world. This is personal.
Today we can profoundly change how we live, how we work, and how we connect with others.
Virtually every challenge we face today — economic growth, national security, cybersecurity, healthcare, personal privacy, climate change, and retirement security — is intertwined with technology.
And yet, very few members of Congress understand technology at a level that allows them to address these challenges.
At this unique moment in history we have a choice. We can define our future or we can be defined by it. I choose to define it, and if you’ve read this far, I hope you’ll join me in our fight for our future.
Kia Hamadanchy was born and raised in Irvine, California, the son of Iranian immigrants who built a successful small business. He received his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Michigan and then moved to Washington, DC, to serve as a staff member in the U.S. Senate. As legal counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee under the leadership of education and disability rights champion Senator Tom Harkin, he worked to expose the exploitation of students by the for-profit college industry. After Senator Harkin’s retirement, Kia joined the staff of Senator Sherrod Brown, where he advocated for a higher minimum wage, equal pay for men and women, and other measures to reduce income inequality and ensure that every American is treated with the respect and dignity that he or she deserves.
Kia is running against incumbent Republican Mimi Walters in California’s 45th Congressional District, a top-targeted Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee “Red-to-Blue” district that Hillary Clinton won by 5.4%. Despite representing a forward-focused district, Representative Walters has voted with President Donald Trump 100 percent of the time and refuses to hold town halls with her constituents.
My name is Dave Min. I live and work in Irvine, and I am running for Congress because we deserve a representative who actually represents our community and our values. I want my kids to grow up in the same America that attracted my parents and so many immigrants like them to this country—where everyone has a fair shot at the American dream, where we prioritize our environment and the education of our children, and where we maintain the spirit of openness and innovation that makes America so special.
I’ve devoted my career to the goal of building an economy that works for people of all backgrounds. As a young lawyer at the SEC, as a senior Congressional advisor, as a policy director at the Center for American Progress, and as a law professor at UC Irvine, I’ve fought to protect hard-working Americans by making our economy and our markets operate better and more fairly for everyone.
I learned the importance of hard work, education and economic opportunity from my parents. They came to this country from Korea in 1972 for their graduate studies, and ended up settling down to raise my younger brother and me in California. My mom and dad grew up in the aftermath of the Korean War, and like most Koreans from that era, they had an incredibly positive view of Americans, who came from so far away to give their blood, their sweat, and even their lives to help protect and then rebuild South Korea. Like many Koreans from that era, my dad still has an occasional (OK, frequent) hankering for Spam, which was given out by American GIs to struggling Korean families in the aftermath of the war.
I met my wife Jane, who is the most amazing woman I know, while attending Harvard Law School. Jane and I are colleagues at UCI Law, where she teaches Family Law and runs our law school’s Domestic Violence Clinic. Jane is also the founder and director of UC Irvine’s Initiative to End Family Violence, a signature initiative of the university working to find better solutions to the terrible and unfortunately all too common problem of domestic abuse and violence.
We are grateful to be raising our three young children in Irvine. We love Orange County’s vibrance, diversity, and neighborliness, and of course the weather is amazing. To Jane and me, this district represents the very best of America.
As a consumer advocate and public interest attorney, Katie Porter has spent nearly twenty years fighting powerful interests and Wall Street banks on behalf of consumers and families. She’s a national leader in consumer protection and has won big victories against financial institutions who cheat consumers.
Before the housing bubble burst, Katie was one of the first to sound the alarm about Wall Street’s predatory practices targeting homeowners, winning recognition from the New York Times and many others.
In 2012, then Attorney General Kamala Harris appointed Katie to be California’s watchdog against the banks. The banks had promised to pay billions to homeowners they cheated, and Harris appointed Katie to make sure the banks followed through. Katie and her team held the banks’ feet to the fire, securing billions and helping tens of thousands of families move forward with their lives.
As an advocate, Katie has sought reforms that help families get a fair shake in our economy. She has been a key player in the fight against abusive credit card fees and, in 2010, helped pass important federal credit card protections for families. Katie has collaborated extensively with Elizabeth Warren, her former law school professor, in efforts to stop powerful financial institutions from ripping off consumers. She has written three books that document how Washington special interests skew our laws and cut off the legal rights of families who play by the rules.
Katie’s most-rewarding job is being a mom to her three children. They live in Irvine, where she is a long-time den mom in her sons’ cub scout pack. Katie is a tenured law professor at University of California Irvine and teaches consumer law.
Eric Rywalski is a small business owner, husband, and father who is running for Congress to advocate for the hard-working residents of the 45th District. He was inspired to run by his daughter, who he believes should be able to look up to our U.S. Representative and President as examples of service and integrity.
As a business affairs consultant and producer in the media industry, Eric understands how critical it is that the federal government fully fund our public schools so students are prepared for the creative and technical careers that will drive growth and offer opportunities. He appreciates how a compassionate, common-sense immigration policy can attract the families who will help us build the next great American generation.
Before working as a consultant, Eric represented and counseled clients as a litigation attorney. In 2008 and 2012, he volunteered with the Voter Protection Division of President Barack Obama's campaign organization to ensure voters' rights in battleground states, and in 2009 he volunteered on the team that helped craft the Affordable Care Act. He continues to offer his time to the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
Eric and his wife, Kristin, are the proud parents of a two year-old Elle. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law and Miami University.
Hello, my name is Ron Varasteh. I am a scientist and an engineer by education, a small business owner for the last 30+ years, a 35+ years resident of Orange County, and a long-time activist for causes pertaining to improved quality of life for all citizens of our great country.
I believe in an effective and efficient Government, focused on issues of the “common good” that can only be addressed through an honest democratic process by citizen legislators, representing WE the People – not by career politicians representing narrow special interests.
I believe in the free market system, but not in crony capitalism which privatizes profits and socializes losses. I believe in a free market system with adequate safeguards for consumers and protection of our environment. I believe in a free market system with a level playing field between capital and labor, one that provides safe working conditions and living wages not subject to threats of “outsourcing”.
Mimi Walters was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2014. Tabbed as the “voice of the House GOP freshman” by a media outlet recently, Walters serves on the House Republican Leadership team, where she fights for:
Strong Defense and National Security
Fiscally Responsible Government
Private Property Rights
Lower taxes, Economic Growth and Job Creation
Prior to her election to the House of Representatives, Mimi represented Orange County in the State Senate and Assembly. She possesses a background in business, finance and local government. Her professional career has included serving as an investment executive for seven years at a major investment banking firm.
Walters currently serves as Maggie’s List’s Congressional Chair for the 114th Congress, an organization dedicated to electing fiscally conservative women to Congress. Recently, Mimi was named one of Orange County’s 100 Most Influential of 2014 by the Orange County Register.
A graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles, Mimi and her husband, David, live in Orange County with their four children.