A Democrat has announced he will make a run for the 42nd Congressional District, which includes Murrieta, in 2012.
According to his announcement, his priorities, if elected, are the economy, jobs, small business, lower taxes, national and local public safety and enforcement of illegal immigration laws.
Speaking by phone Friday morning, Williamson said the economy is first and foremost on his mind.
"The economy and jobs in California have got to be the focus," he said, saying that making it easier for small businesses to thrive in the region is key.
Wiliamson, who lives in Mission Viejo -- and is therefore running outside his home district -- said he is very familiar with the issues affecting what will be the 42nd District. (See attached district map to view the boundary lines per redistricting.)
"I spend a great deal of time in the area and am pretty well networked there. As an attorney, I represent the Riverside Sheriffs' Association. I am familiar with the issues of the region," he said.
Williamson served in the U.S. Marine Corp and is a retired L.A.P.D. sergeant. He is a practicing lawyer and teaches criminal justice at the community college level.
Although he is a Democrat, Williamson said he was a registered Republican for "years and years." He switched parties when he began thinking about running for political office. In 2010, he made a bid for Congress in what is currently the 42nd District, which includes swaths of Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. He lost the race to Republican incumbent Gary Miller.
Williamson describes himself as a conservative with moderate views on social issues. He said he's pro life, "actually, I'm pro law," he said, citing his support for the legal system, which includes the Roe v. Wade decision. He also supports same-sex marriage and gays in the military.
"I don't care one way or the other," he said.
Those views, however, don't play well with Republicans.
"You can't win [as a Republican] with those views," he said.
Williamson admits he's not a textbook Democrat though. He touts conservative ideals, such as a tough stance on illegal immigration.
"I'd like to see immigration laws enforced," he said, but explained he wants to see reform that paves the way for legal immigration.
"I don't tow either party line," he said, which he thinks could be an advantage. "I could be a bridge" in what is currently a highly partisan political environment.
In the meantime, Williamson said he is taking the plunge one step at a time and will test the waters without a big war chest to rely on.
At this point in the race, Williamson will be taking on Congressman Ken Calvert (R-Corona), who currently represents the 44th District.
Currently, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, and Congressman Darrell Issa R-Vista, represent Murrieta. However, under redistricting, Issa, if re-elected this year, would represent the 50th Congressional District, which includes much of Temecula and North County San Diego. Mack, if re-elected, would represent the 36th District that encompasses Hemet, the desert cities of Riverside County and picks up Banning and Beaumont.
Candidates wishing to make a run for the congressional seat have until March 9 to meet the signature filing deadline.