While U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff has been trying to impeach President Trump, the homeless crisis in his California congressional district has remained unaddressed, a candidate looking to replace Schiff said this week.
Eric Early, a Republican hoping to represent the state’s 28th Congressional District in the next Congress, talked about the area’s problems while touring the district with a reporter from FOX 11 of Los Angeles.
The challenger accused Schiff – who drew national media attention last year as the face of House Democrats’ efforts to remove Trump from office – of being too focused on Capitol Hill politics instead of the daily well-being of people he was elected to represent.
“He’s spent too much time in Washington seeking the limelight,” Early, a Los Angeles-area attorney, said of Schiff. “It’s time for a congressman to be here who actually cares about our district.”
Some have accused Schiff of trying to position himself to eventually run for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who will turn 87 in June.
During the tour of streets north of downtown L.A., Early showed FOX 11 examples of drug use, mental health problems and other social ills that Schiff’s constituents grapple with every day.
One homeless man told Early he couldn’t afford to pay for colon cancer treatment, while a young woman said her mother was fighting drug addiction and her father was in prison.
“It’s a mess out here, it’s terrible,” Early said, accusing Schiff of being unresponsive to the community’s needs.
“He’s done nothing, or virtually nothing, for our district,” Early said. “Certainly not a darn thing for homelessness.”
With a University of Southern California poll showing the homelessness issue to be the No. 1 concern of the district’s voters, Early said he plans to draw attention to the problem as he works to block Schiff’s reelection.
Schiff’s team pushed back against Early’s accusations, however. They noted that the longtime congressman – a native of Massachusetts who later lived in Arizona before moving to California – recently participated in a roundtable discussion on affordable housing for the district and has introduced bills in Congress to address homelessness.
The Schiff campaign characterized Early as someone who was an operative of the Trump administration, taking on one of the president’s most vocal critics.
“These attacks from Eric Early, who is from out of the district and knows little of our community, are characteristic of someone who once described himself as Trump’s biggest supporter in California,” Schiff’s campaign wrote to FOX 11. “They may please Trump, but do not impress our constituents.”
Early, however, countered that he believed more voters would support him because he thinks most of the district’s residents are eager to see the homelessness problem fixed. He said he would improve the current system for dealing with the mentally ill, and support legislation to remove the homeless from the streets if they refuse to accept help.
“We need somebody strong enough to fight and say we are going to forcibly move these people off the streets if they don’t come voluntarily,” Early told FOX 11. “That may not look quote-unquote compassionate but I believe it’s much more compassionate than leaving these folks out here to die.”