Against a backdrop of music, speeches and pledges, Cal State Fullerton alumnus Lou Correa ’80 (B.A. economics), the newly elected congressman representing the 46th Congressional District, was ceremonially sworn in at a community ceremony held yesterday (Feb. 22) at the Grand Central Art Center in downtown Santa Ana’s Artists Village.
“Thank you to all of you,” Correa told the assembled crowd. “Although I am taking the oath of office, this is YOUR seat … the seat of the people of central Orange County. I’ve lived here since I was 6 years old, and I’ve seen change after change. And will continue to see change. Again and again.
“The things I hear motivate me to get things done and to fight harder so everyone has a shot at the American dream,” he said. “If we look at central Orange County, this is the face of America. And all of you will help keep America great.”
The oath of office was administered by Orange County Superior Court Judge Frederick P. Horn, with an invocation given by Bishop Kevin W. Vann of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. The afternoon program included performances by the Thiên Ân performing group and the Santa Ana High School Choir and Mariachi Band. Cal State Fullerton’s ROTC were on hand to pledge the colors, while Cub Scout Pack 597 led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The former state senator for California’s 34th District is a longtime supporter of his alma mater. “It’s the Harvard of the West,” said the veteran legislator, who represented central Orange County in Sacramento for 16 years.
In addition to his CSUF degree, Correa holds a juris doctor and MBA from UCLA. He is licensed with the California Real Estate Board and the California State Bar.
Correa has been a force in Orange County politics since 1998, when he was first elected to the state Assembly. After three terms in the Assembly, he was elected to the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2004 and to the state Senate in 2006, serving two terms. He termed out of office in 2014.
After raising his right hand and taking the oath of office, the crowd cheered.
“I do want to tell everyone that we are all going to get through this difficult time,” he said. “And I understand that folks, with or without documentation, contribute greatly to this country. I do my job because the stakes are so high. But as we work through these issues, we’ll get there.”
As a state legislator, Correa was known for his articulate and passionate advocacy for higher education, in particular the California community colleges, the California State University and the University of California systems. In 2015, he was recognized with the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.