Filner vows to be one of ‘most aggressive members of Congress'

September 13, 2001

U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, spoke with Imperial Valley Press Staff Writer Aaron Claverie on Wednesday.

IVP: Why are you looking forward to representing the Imperial Valley?

Filner: We have to talk hypothetically because we don't know how (the redistricting process) is going to go.

But if I do represent the county, the Imperial Valley would have one of the most aggressive members of Congress in America working on their behalf.

My experience with border issues would be very valuable.

I have a reputation as a strong environmentalist and am looking forward to working on Salton Sea issues. It's dying and needs to be saved. It needs aggressive representation.

IVP: What are some of the issues shared by South Bay San Diego and Imperial County?

Filner: Both areas would get a great representative for the border area.

(Filner mentioned legislation he has sponsored in the House that would provide for the private party construction of a railway connecting the San Diego port with the Imperial Valley. He calls the project the "jobs train." He also expressed a willingness to work on improving the Imperial Valley's economy.)


Farm workers are a big part of the population and I would be a great advocate for them, addressing their economic needs.

I have a lot to learn, such as the issues surrounding water and agriculture, but I'm a quick learner and a strong advocate for the interests of the communities I represent.

IVP: How would you weigh the water needs of your South Bay constituents against the concerns of Imperial Valley residents who fear the pending transfer of water to San Diego could weaken the agricultural economy?

Filner: I would represent both counties and attempt to bring about a win-win-win outcome.

I'm good at getting people into the same room and working on a solution that benefits them all.

IVP: Do you feel Assemblyman Juan Vargas has manipulated the redistricting process for personal reasons?

Filner: He's trying to set himself up for a senatorial or congressional seat. Him doing that for his personal agenda is not the right thing to do.

IVP: Environmentalists in Imperial County and Mexicali have called for strict emissions standards for power plants being built in Mexicali. The environmentalists said the plants could negatively affect the air quality here. What sort of federal legislation should be written to address quality of life issues along the border?

Filner: I'm already working on that.

We cannot try to solve our energy problems by destroying the environment.

Building those plants without proper controls could destroy the Mexican and U.S. environment but it is a difficult issue because it is the Mexicans who are giving the permits.

I would work with Baja California and Imperial County officials to solve the problem.

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