Jack Orswell’s address to the Rotary Club of San Marino was not his first. In fact, it was his third time speaking to the group in the last 5 years, one for each time he’s run for Congress.
“Third time’s the charm,” said Orswell, who will once again face off against incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Judy Chu.
When he decided to run the first time, he thought, “I figured it’s time to get rid of some politicians and start getting people with business experience.”
After running two campaigns to represent California’s 27th Congressional District, and now in the middle of a third, he’s learned that running for political office is “a separate world all unto itself.”
“Nobody has any clue as to how this election is going to turn out when you have two [presidential] candidates with the unfavorable rates that [Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump] do,” Orswell said in response to a Rotarian’s question about the differences between this election year and the last two election cycles.
Throughout all three campaigns, Orswell’s motivation has stayed the same.
“Congress Doesn’t Know Jack.”
It’s been his campaign’s slogan through all three campaign, too, which he’s spread via bumper sticker.
“Obviously I’m the Republican candidate running against the Democrat, but when we’re handing out these stickers, Democrats and Republicans all love them because the brief statement speaks a lot for what’s going on [in Washington D.C.],” Orswell said.
“Let’s stop playing politics and let’s start solving some problems,” he said, noting that Congress is the “weak link in our government today.”
The former police officer and FBI agent said that his qualifications are no different than those of other Americans.
“Just like everybody else, you’ve got to be 25-years old and a United States citizen,” he said.
“You’ve got to be interested in government and maybe have a little bit of common sense, but that doesn’t seem to be a requirement with the way things are going on right now,” he added, garnering laughter from the crowd of 50 Rotarians.
The longtime Boy Scout and Venturing leader noted that congressional inaction will be particularly detrimental to future generations.
“I’ve been involved with kids for a long, long time and I feel that there’s a lot of things that are not getting done that should be done [to] start looking towards the future,” said Orswell, identifying the need for congressional action on the national debt and deficit and social security.
In addition, he said his top three platforms are fighting crime and terrorism, creating jobs and fixing infrastructure.
In a 15-minute question and answer session following his prepared remarks, Orswell also discussed the Zika Virus, 710 Freeway extension, education, homelessness and domestic terrorism.
“The Zika virus represents a significant health risk, a significant economic risk, and congress is playing politics when to me it’s pretty simple: let’s fund the necessary research to come up with a vaccine and solve the issues that Zika is posing to the United States and to the rest of the world,” he said.
“A tunnel is not going to solve the problem. All it’s going to do is facilitate two lanes of traffic into the 210,” said Orswell.
As an alternative, he suggested, “[F]ederal dollars would be much better spent on service transportation, expanding the Gold Line out to the San Bernardino airport.”
“I’m a firm believer that education can alleviate poverty.”
Orswell promoted Michael Antonovich, candidate for the 25th State Senate District, and Kathryn Barger, candidate for the Los Angeles County 5th Supervisorial District, for their strategies to help the homeless.
He said, “I want to be the advocate back in Congress supporting federal funds for police agencies.”
His concluding message to the audience was, “Don’t fall asleep on government because government will take advantage of you. We need people involved in politics.”
Jack Orswell was born and raised in Pasadena. He attended Pasadena City College and the University of Southern California. In the 1970s, he was a police officer with the Pasadena PD. He then joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 15 years. In 1984, he moved to Arcadia with his wife, Janet, and three children, Jeff, Jane and Julie. He was an Arcadia Reserve police officer from 1993 to 2014. Orswell owns an environmental consulting and investigation company.