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Sen. Lowenthal answers U.S. Chamber attack

October 3, 2012 |  4:02 pm

Lashing back after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched an ad campaign against him, state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) gathered some local business owners to rebut the chamber's attack.

Lowenthal is running for Congress in one of about 10 districts in California that both major parties are competing for in the battle for control of the House this fall.  Last week, the U.S. Chamber spent about $2.8 million for radio and TV ads in eight of those districts, including the newly drawn 47th District, where Lowenthal is competing with Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong, a Republican.

The chamber ad  does not mention DeLong but features a scowling Lowenthal and claims his bills "have been  called job killers."  The ads follow a similar format in the other districts with only the candidates' names changed.

At a news conference Wednesday at Lola's Mexican Cuisine in Long Beach, Lowenthal said he  found the chamber attack "just inexcusable" because no one in the organization knew him or his record and did not bother to talk with local business groups before launcing the ads.

He cited his efforts early in his political career to clean up pollution in the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, efforts resisted by port businesses at first.  On Wednesday, Lowenthal read a statement from an official of Maersk, one of the two ports' largest businesses, praising the lawmaker's leadership and "ability to find common ground."   It concluded, "we believe he would be an excellent addition to the U.S. Congress."

Others touting Lowenthal's business record included Lola's owner, Luis Navarro Jr., and Betty Jo Toccoli, president of the California Small Business Assn.

"The U.S. Chamber certainly doesn't speak for me and they obviously don't know Alan," Toccoli said, recounting Lowenthal's efforts over the years to meet with business owners and respond to their concerns.

A representative of DeLong's campaign sat in on the news conference and handed reporters a list of "gifts"  to Californians from the state Legislature, including high taxes and a low state credit rating.


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 --Jean Merl

Photo: State Sen. Alan Lowenthal is applauded as he prepares to leave the Legislature last month. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press