Professor discusses gov’t campaign

Feuer served as the L.A. city attorney and in the California State Assembly.

Mike Feuer, a Democrat running for Congress, hopes to find solutions to issues such as gun violence, climate change and health care. (Mike Feuer)

“The thing about running for office is that you don’t run for office to be in office, you run to accomplish things,” said Mike Feuer, a Democrat running for Congress in the upcoming 2023 elections and an adjunct instructor at USC. 

Feuer is conducting his campaign while teaching the course “Solving Public Problems” at the Price School of Public Policy this semester.

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Throughout Feuer’s decades-long experience in public service, he has worked to create tangible change through policy and litigation. He said he aims to continue finding solutions to what he sees as the country’s most pressing issues if elected to Congress, including gun violence, climate change, health care and the stability of American democracy.

“Throughout my career, I’ve tried to be a transformative leader; not just a vote on key issues, but someone who looks ahead, has vision, and then can roll up my sleeves and actually make sure that finishing gets realized,” Feuer said. 

While serving as the Los Angeles city attorney from 2013 to 2022, Feuer successfully challenged some of former president Donald Trump’s immigration laws, like preventing the Trump administration from imposing a law that would require police to aid civil immigration enforcement to receive federal public safety grants.

Feuer also created the city attorney’s Gun Violence Prevention Unit and led litigation that took down numerous firms contributing to environmental damage, such as SoCalGas after the largest methane leak in American history. He also won a lawsuit levied against Wells Fargo over its fake accounts scandal, which changed banking practices and ensured consumer protection.

For Feuer, running a campaign and teaching a class have been difficult to balance.

“It’s been very busy because I’ve wanted to give everything I have to the students. I think the class is going really well so far,” Feuer said. “But by the same token, I then leave here and have a campaign to run, so it’s been a real time management challenge.” 

Chris Clausen, a sophomore majoring in political science, said he appreciates Feuer’s professional experience and commitment to unbiased teaching.

“He’s a great professor. I really enjoy having somebody who’s been active in public service for over 40 years,” Clausen said. “He doesn’t impose any sort of agendas on us in class. [He is] very communicative, very positive, very open-minded and collaborative.” 

Feuer said he attempts to extend this cooperative mindset to politics where he can, and he emphasized the importance of listening and curating personal relationships with people with an array of backgrounds and ideologies.

“When I was in Sacramento as the majority leader for policy of the California Assembly, I found ways in a hyper-partisan environment to work with Republicans when I could,” Feuer said.

Feuer plans to continue to advocate for California-specific issues if elected to Congress, such as homelessness and its intersection with mental health. He pointed out the lack of affordable housing in L.A., which he said affects both the general public and USC students. 

“Most students who go to USC are unsure if they can afford to live in L.A., let alone if you’re a person experiencing homelessness where there is a tremendous shortage,” Feuer said.

Feuer also is vocal about demanding changes in public safety and gun regulations. 

“We speak about issues in fairly abstract terms … but when I talk about gun violence, for example, I describe how I stood at a press conference I had organized on Capitol Hill after Parkland with the students,” Feuer said. “We need to talk in less sanitized terms. It’s really important for us to inspire each other by being real with each other.”

Solaire Perez, a freshman studying public policy, said her experience in Feuer’s class has been amazing, surpassing her preconceived excitement about the course.

“I had absolutely no idea that I would be in a class that is so educational and just inspiring,” Perez said. “I do admit that I looked him up on Rate My Professor at first, but … those reviews are nothing like being present in the class and being able to have him as a professor.”

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