California State Senator Isadore Hall enjoys substantial funding from the alcohol, tobacco and soda industries. Hall’s district includes some of the less prosperous areas of Southern California, including Carson, Compton, Long Beach, and Inglewood. And his constituents suffer disproportionately from obesity and diabetes.
Hall has blocked progress towards an overwhelmingly popular warning label on sugar-sweetened beverages. CrossFit supported this warning label bill through its Crush Big Soda campaign. To block the bill’s progress, Hall didn’t have to vote against the warning label bill; he simply had to abstain from voting.
Hall is running for the U.S. House of Representatives, but one woman stands in his way: Nanette Barragan. We examined Hall’s industry connections in a previous post. Today we focus on Hall’s opponent, Nanette Barragan. I interviewed Barragan last month via email.
1. What motivated you to run for office?
My parents were immigrants from Mexico who came to this country for a better opportunity for their children. My mom only had a third grade education but both of my parents instilled a strong work ethic in me as well as the importance of getting an education. I didn’t have much growing up, I remember relying upon community groups and assistance for basic groceries. I worked hard to beat the odds and put myself through UCLA then USC Law School. Although I achieved a piece of the American Dream, I am now … running to give back and to make sure everyone has the same opportunity. I’ve dedicated my life to public service from working at the White House and the California Supreme Court, foundation work to fund nonprofits to better our communities and serving on the Hermosa Beach City Council.
I’m motivated by the families in the District and my hope is that they have someone in Washington fighting for them. I want to improve the quality of life for families in the 44th District and I see this as a unique opportunity to serve the communities where I live and where I was raised. In Congress, I will work tirelessly to support working families, bring more good-paying jobs to California, protect the health of our communities, and guarantee everyone has access to early childhood education, trade skills, and affordable college.
2. How do you distinguish yourself from Isadore Hall (and the others running for Congress in his district)?
Unlike Isadore Hall, who is one of the largest recipient(s) of donations from the oil, tobacco and big soda companies in Sacramento, I’ve had a long track record of refusing to pander to these types of big corporations who put the health and safety of our communities at risk. I was a leader in the fight to stop Big Oil from setting up an oil drilling facility in Hermosa Beach that would have drilled in Santa Monica Bay. I’m the only Latina candidate in a district that is 70% Latino. I always stand up for what I believe in; in Hermosa Beach, I saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in waste and mismanagement by successfully taking on the city’s entrenched establishment.
3. What do you think about CrossFit’s soda warning label campaign?
I understand how difficult it is to stop drinking soda because I constantly drank it growing up. I had no idea of its harmful effects until I became an adult. When I decided to quit drinking soda I had a difficult time and went through withdrawals. Both my mother and sister-in-law suffer from diabetes, so I have seen firsthand how sugar hurts health.
In the 44th district, Latinos make up 68% of the population and 17% African-American, two populations that suffer disproportionately from high diabetes and obesity rates. A label would definitely help Californians realize how sugar impacts their well-being and make healthier choices for their diets.
4. Do you have any comments on Isadore Hall’s relationship with tobacco, alcohol, and soda companies?
Isadore Hall’s connection to the tobacco, alcohol and soda industries is troubling at best. He has taken over $43,700 from the tobacco industry, $100,456 from the alcohol industry and $66,724 from the beverage/soda industry. His voting record shows that he is pandering to influential lobbyists instead of putting the health of his constituents first.