Tracy Emblem- From Welfare to Congress?

(SAN DIEGO) Tracy Emblem, an Escondido appellate attorney, believes her 20 years of legal experience, and previous struggles on welfare, make for the perfect background for Democratic candidate of the 50th Congressional District.

“I know what it is like to have nothing. I was a single, young mother in the 70’s – on food stamps for 18 months,” said Emblem. “But I also know what it is like to rise to the top and overcome challenges.”

Emblem utilized federal Pell grants to put herself through school and worked her way through law school at National University. She now works at her husband’s law firm, Law Offices of Thor O. Emblem, where she supervises the civil research for the firm’s major cases.

Emblem says her unique background with its challenges and successes has helped to influence her platform for political office – jobs, economic justice, and social justice.

According to a recent report on unemployment by the State of California’s Employment Development Department, San Diego County’s unemployment rate rose to 10.5% in October. When asked about the current economic downturn, Emblem said there are many factors currently inhibiting job growth.

“Jobs are the backbone of our economy. With a robust workforce, you then have a strong economy, a strong America. However, high energy costs, business taxes, and increasing health care costs have priced many out of business, namely small business owners which make up the majority of our economy,” she said.

“I will promote policies and incentives that help empower economic self sufficiency for small business owners. These include incentives such as tax credits to invest in renewable energy and attain energy self sufficiency while reducing businesses' energy costs. I also want to see policies enacted to take the burden of increasing healthcare costs off the backs of small business owners.”

Emblem added that many of the previous economic policies have been mismanaged.

“Any stimulus monies should be spent to improve the livelihood of people that are hurting. It should build the economy from the bottom up, not trickle down. Executives who mismanaged their businesses have in many cases been rewarded, some with hundreds of millions of dollars. All the while their employees are being laid off due to cost cutting. In effect we are punishing the people who have worked long tireless hours, and rewarding those who helped put us into the mess we are in today.”

Also of importance to Emblem is making sure jobs remain in the United States.

“We need to eliminate subsidies for corporations that outsource American jobs overseas,” said Emblem. “Any funding should remain in the communities it’s intended for.”

Emblem is also a strong supporter of working families which has earned her endorsements from five unions.

“I strongly support a raise in the federal minimum wage, collective bargaining, enforcement of OSHA safety standards, and the Davis-Bacon Act which requires prevailing wage rates to be paid on all federally funded or assisted construction projects. We must employ Americans with decent wages and benefits. This is fundamental to the rebuilding of our economy. When workers are paid higher wages, they help infuse the local economy by spending more; everyone benefits, including small businesses and corporations.”

Social issues are also of great concern.

“In 1991 my brother passed away from AIDS,” she said. “I stood up and fought for him at the hospital. No one should face the scrutiny he faced. I am an avid supporter of equal rights for all in our society, including ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DOMA), the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).”

In her 20-years as an attorney Emblem has also worked with the Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people. Her work with the group includes over 20 years of pro-bono work, and earned her acclaim including a guest appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live.

“Many today are facing the same hardships I faced when I was a teenager,” said Emblem. “I understand the challenges they are facing, and I can use my experiences as I fight for them in Congress.”

When asked why she feels she’s the best candidate to serve the 50th Congressional District, she replied candidly.

“You have to be deeply connected to the community; you have to understand the needs of the voters. I understand what it is like to be struggling and I’ve witnessed the injustices firsthand which keeps me grounded and focused on what truly matters. And I can build and understand the importance of coalitions, and that’s what will be needed when I’m in Congress.”

Emblem is running in the Democratic Primary against Solana Beach Councilman Dave Roberts and Francine Busby who has run twice before for the position. Should Emblem win the Democratic nomination she will most likely face Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray and Libertarian Wayne Dunlap, owner of a local Web technology company.

Emblem has authored over 300 civil and criminal writs and appeals which have been published in the California courts.

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