Greg Raths thought his first run for office would be uprooted by one of the biggest jocks on campus.
“I ran for my freshman class presidency in 1967 and I won. I was the underdog, there was this big jock on campus who thought he had all the votes and my job was to make sure he didn’t win,” Raths said.
Raths is a Republican candidate for California’s 45th congressional district, the mayor of Mission Viejo and a Marine Corps veteran. He is one of the candidates running against Dean Lisa Sparks of the School of Communication in the 45th primary race.
Raths was assigned by the Pentagon as chief of staff for the White House military office during the Clinton administration. Veterans’ affairs is one of his biggest running platforms.
“We oversaw the military support for the President. My office was in the east wing of the White House,” Raths said. “It was a really cool job, I traveled with the President at all time. It was a very informative and exciting experience to work at the White House.
Meeting heads of states of countries all around the world was one of the best experiences while working at the White House, Raths said. Working at a Democratic White House as a Republican was not an obstacle for Raths.
“(Clinton) was duly elected president and I am not going to say ‘no’ when the Pentagon asks me to go to work at the White House because he is a Democrat,” Raths said. “I respect the office of the Presidency and it was a great honor to work at the White House.”
Being in the military taught Raths not to think of people by the color of their skin or their political affiliation.
“One thing I tell people is that when I went into battle, I just didn’t say, ‘OK all the Republican marines come with me.’ I took everybody with me,” Raths said. “I didn’t care what their position was politically and we would win. We won desert storm in 38 days and we won in Somalia and it was color blind to the diversity of the troops. We never looked at them as being black, white or brown; it was just marines and I learned that at a young age.”
Being able to work with people of different backgrounds is something Raths wants to do if he is elected as the representative for the 45th congressional district.
“I am running under the Republican party and want to be able to work with Democrats and independents and whoever,” Raths said. “It’s not going to bother me. I can walk across the bridge to the other side to talk politics. Right now, it’s so divisive in our country and I don’t want that. I want it to change and that’s what I’m going to try to do.
Raths spoke to The Panther during the first developments of the impeachment inquiry last week. With new developments, Raths still holds a similar position on impeachment.
“I was there at the White House when Clinton was impeached and it was not good for the country,” Raths said. “We are within a year from the election. If they don’t like the President and his policies, just vote him out. I don’t think impeachment for what they are saying he did is an impeachable offence.”
Raths has been part of the Mission Viejo City Council since 2014 and is proud to have contributed to the $6 million budget surplus the city has.
“As mayor, I’m really tight fiscally to make sure we don’t overspend our money. I want to do the same thing in Washington D.C. because they overspend the money that comes into the federal government,” Raths said.
As someone who served in the military for 30 years, veterans’ issues are important to Raths.
“South County has a lot of veterans. When El Toro was shut down and the Tustin base was shut down, a lot of them stayed here so I want to make sure that they are being taken care of,” Raths said.
National security and the U.S.-Mexico Border are other issues Raths cares about.
“We are very loving and warm country, but many people feel they can walk across the border and become a citizen. I want people to know there is a process,” Raths said. “There is a right way to do it and I want to make sure we do it the correct way and keep our borders secure.”
Raths looks forward to a clean campaign and challenging Congresswoman Katie Porter’s views on important issues.