T

he name of the political organization known as ACT is not an acronym or initials of a larger name. ACT gets its name from its members, who do just that: They act, and their success in getting people elected is renowned.”

While ACT is not affiliated with any political party, it has a definite liberal leaning. It grew out of a number of local people who were extremely active in the McGovern for President Campaign in 1972. While greatly disappointed by McGovern’s defeat, they felt it was time for a more liberal atmosphere locally and they wanted to continue the fellowship established in the McGovern campaign.

Those early founders of ACT were tremendously interested in having a more liberal atmosphere in the public school system, as well as in other public offices. With those factors in mind, ACT held its organizational meeting on Feb. 4, 1973. It rapidly grew to a membership of over 400 and still continues to this day as a very large and influential organization.

Early on, ACT adopted the following goals:

1.  Provide an open forum for all interested candidates so that issues of interest to

     the membership can be discussed.

2.  Provide a means of communication to the membership through a newsletter.

3.  Establish monies for the use of the organization.

4.  Serve the community through a series of community forums and workshops,

     thereby also attracting new members.

5.  Maintain and improve our precinct organization.

6.  Promote and assist candidates who appeal strongly to the philosophy of

     this organization.

One of the things that has kept ACT a strong and active organization through the years is its newsletter, The Phoenix, which is mailed monthly to the entire membership.  Ably edited and published by Chuck Hains and his associate, Sally Beer, The Phoenix is the envy of other organizations. Jon Fuhrman’s “Political Notes” carried by The Phoenix is always eagerly read.  The Phoenix also carries monthly columns from the political officers in our area, as well as other political news and columns.

In 1970, every state and federal office covering this area was occupied by a Republican. Today every state and local office is filled by a Democrat. This is no accident. ACT played a major role in this turnaround. Here is one example. ACT knew that Dr. Jack Scott, popular president of Pasadena City College, was retiring. A committee from ACT called on Scott and urged him to run for the Assembly. Their urging prevailed and the rest is history. Scott won the election and years later, when termed out of the Assembly, with the aid of ACT and others Scott was elected to the state Senate. Carol Liu, with the support of ACT, was elected state senator. ACT was also active in supporting Anthony Portantino in his elections to the Assembly and Senator. ACT also supported Chris Holden in his successful bid for the Assembly.

Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff is another success story. With the help of ACT and the local Democratic clubs, Schiff was elected to the US House of Representatives, a spot long held by Republicans. Today, Schiff is one of the top representatives in Congress. Many other elections in this area, such as those for mayor, City Council and the school board, have been greatly affected by the actions and support of ACT.

ACT has a research committee which strongly “vets” political candidates and then presents its recommendations to the ACT Steering Committee, and eventually to the entire membership.  ACT also sponsors public forums. While ACT has a liberal bent and has strongly supported many Democrats, ACT has also supported Republicans over the years, including:  Al Lowe, Andy Wilson, Ann Hight, Bill Thomson, Jess Hughston, Armando Gonzales and Diane Philobosian.

Closely associated with ACT is the Arroyo Democratic Club, fully chartered by the Democratic Party. Chartered Democratic Party Clubs are not allowed to endorse candidates of the opposite party. ACT, however, can endorse whoever they please.

Over the years, several ACT members have become successful paid professionals in the political arena. Among the ACT professionals are Fred Register and Jon Fuhrman. The late Judy Boggs and Wendy Soltes were excellent professional fundraisers. All of these have contributed greatly to the successes of ACT.

The evidence is clear that ACT has made quite an impact on several close-knit communities here in the San Gabriel Valley.  As to what the future holds, no one fully knows. Donald Trump has turned the federal political arena upside down. But one thing is for sure: ACT will be there, struggling to create their vision of a better world.