I met Congressman Adam Schiff in 1996 when I was the new voter organizer for the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV). I enthusiastically worked on Schiff’s state Senate campaign. I was impressed by his professional and academic background, serious personality and focused intensity.
“Before serving in the Legislature, Schiff served with the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles for six years, most notably prosecuting the first FBI agent ever to be indicted for espionage,” Schiff’s congressional web page reads, in part. “Adam is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School.”
I was a young CLCV organizer filled with dreams and idealism when I worked on Schiff’s Senate campaign. I was obsessed with implementing all of the concepts of fairness, inclusion and environmental action that I had learned as an undergraduate at Occidental College, and this was part of that mission. Like many of my classmates, I also wanted to change the world for the better. My commitment to elect candidates to help protect our environment was uppermost on my agenda, having grown up in some of the most polluted neighborhoods of Los Angeles.
I organized bilingual phone banks along with the help of CLCV’s grizzled organizers and amazing volunteers who were fed Domino’s Pizza and sodas to stay motivated. We also helped create pro–environment direct mailings, walked precincts to speak with voters, and organized successful community forums to get more Latinos out to vote on election day. Through our efforts, we achieved an 80 percent turnout of new Latino voters.
What was truly impressive was seeing Schiff walking most of the Senate district to speak with voters directly. He was committed to hearing what voters were thinking about. He loved speaking to people back then, a quality that he has maintained as a member of Congress, and he has consistently delivered for his district.
Back in ‘96, through our efforts we won numerous state districts that were previously held by Republicans. The West San Gabriel Valley, including Pasadena, and neighboring cities Burbank and Glendale, were bastions of Republican voters, but they had now become Democrat territory.
My youth and enthusiasm was tremendous. I was so proud of the four years that I dedicated to the CLCV. It was my first full-time job after graduating. In 2000, my last year with CLCV, Schiff ran for Congress, beating incumbent Republican James Rogan.
Not long after that, I also ended up living and working in Washington, DC, and I would sometimes run into Schiff on Capitol Hill and in the hallways of the Capitol Building, while I served as communications director for former Congresswoman Hilda Solis, who is now a member of the LA County Board of Supervisors.
Fast forward two decades and Congressman Schiff is leading the team of House Managers in the impeachment trial of President Trump. That came as no surprise. Schiff has the credentials and the experience to be considered for US Attorney General, perhaps even a potential presidential candidate. And now, through the rough and tumble world of politics, he has proven to be an effective leader at the national level.
The nation has now had an opportunity to see Congressman Adam Schiff in action, through the televised impeachment hearings.
Many Republican Senators may want to pretend that they ignored Schiff’s impassioned pleas when it comes to judging Trump. But in reality, they took Schiff very seriously. Even Senate Republican Lindsey Graham (from South Carolina) told Schiff “good job” regarding his logical, evidence-based argument in the impeachment trial. In his presentations, Schiff’s confidence and speaking style created an aura of trust, something Trump fanatics and defenders will dismiss and hate on.
I say let them hate. We clearly have a new national leader who has the potential to become our next US Attorney General, even a future presidential candidate. Today, the idea of Adam Schiff for President doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
Randy Jurado Ertll is the author of the novel “The Lives and Times of El Cipitio.” Visit his website: RANDYJURADOERTLL.COM.