Georgetown’s most famous advocate for reproductive rights might soon seek a larger national stage.
After longtime Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) announced his retirement Thursday, Sandra Fluke (LAW ’12) told Southern California radio station 89.3 KPCC that she is considering running for his seat in Congress.
Best known for her work supporting reproductive rights and women’s rights, Fluke entered the national spotlight in February 2012 when conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” following her testimony on the importance of contraceptive coverage. Fluke went on to speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, where she pushed for increased access to contraception and equal pay for women.
“I’m flattered that I’m being discussed as a potential candidate, especially for Rep. Waxman’s seat, considering his incredible legacy. A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run. I am strongly considering running. I’ll be making my decision soon,” Fluke said in a statement released Thursday.
Judy Feder, former dean of what is now the McCourt School of Public Policy, moderated last year’s Georgetown University Lecture Fund series featuring Fluke. Having run for Congress twice, Federsaid that Fluke would make a promising candidate.
“I find her enormously impressive, articulate, principled and able to connect with an audience of diverse points of view, and based on my experience running for Congress, that’s a terrific set of credentials,” Feder said.
If Fluke chooses to formalize her bid for Congress, she will run as a representative of California’s 33rd congressional district, which includes affluent areas like Malibu and Santa Monica. Fluke’s competition would include Democrats former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel and State Senator Ted Lieu, both of whom declared their candidacy early last week.
Mathew Grubman, a junior at the University of Colorado-Boulder who grew up in District 33, said that he would definitely consider voting for Fluke should she choose to run.
“I like her stance on women’s rights, that’s always a major point for me in any sort of election, so her stance on that definitely is appealing to me,” Grubman said.
Kelsey Read (NHS ’17), also from Fluke’s potential district, said that she would most likely vote for Fluke. But, she did express concern that Fluke’s liberal contraceptive policy might encroach on institutions’ rights to religious freedom — something that has proved problematic for Georgetown in the past.
“I think on the one hand it’s important to have contraceptives or birth control available for girls everywhere, but I think also that there is a legitimate concern with religious institutions,” Read said.
Elissa Free, executive director of communications for the Georgetown University Law Center, confirmed the university’s support for Fluke should she choose to run for office.
“Georgetown Law has a long tradition of its graduates going into public service, with many serving in Congress on both sides of the aisle. We wish all of them well and follow their careers with interest,” Free wrote in a statement.
Chandini Jha (COL ’16), chair of the College Democrats, noted that while her organization does not officially endorse candidates, she herself was energized by Fluke’s potential candidacy.
“I think it’s really great to see an issue that she has really stood up for, which is reproductive justice and women’s rights, move to the forefront of congressional races. And especially the fact that she’s a young woman in Congress,” Jha said.