With the start of June came the launch of Quaye Quartey’s campaign for the United States House of Representatives with an eye on CA-25.
Quartey spent 20 years in the Navy, spending half of his career overseas serving primarily abroad as an intelligence officer in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and, most recently, Europe. He also served on aircraft carriers, fighter planes, with special forces and as a diplomat in France and Cameroon. He then went on to Stanford Business School and Naval Postgraduate School where he earned an master’s degree in systems engineering.
“I saw America from a different light and I saw that our country has gone backwards,” Quartey said. “Most recently [on] Jan. 6, I couldn’t endure the insurrection as someone who served our country, especially as a diplomat overseas.”
Quartey said the U.S. Capitol Riot was the “crystalizing moment” that motivated him to seek public office, when a mob of violent insurrectionaries stormed the U.S. Capitol and temporarily halting the certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
On Garcia (R-Santa Clarita), Quartey, a Democrat, said “voters understand that Mike Garcia is not properly representing them.” He noted Garcia’s vote against the certification of the electoral vote count, against the impeachment of former president Donald Trump and against the creation of an investigative committee into the Jan. 6 attack.
“I don’t believe it’s a good idea to go out there and put your party over patriotism, and that’s something that I’ve seen Mike Garcia do,” Quartey said. Both Garcia and Quartey graduated from the United States Naval Academy, yet Quartey said he recognizes a distinctive difference between himself and Garcia in who they are as people and what they want to do for the community.
“When you boil it down, I have character that they [the voters] can rely upon and Mike Garcia does not,” mentioning Garcia’s voting record aligning 96% with Trump, which Quartey said has “gone astray from the local community in the Santa Clarita Valley.” Quartey sees his background of serving this country and being a decorated military intelligence officer, who is willing to serve both in and out of uniform, are things voters will see of someone that is growing with the community and “believes in an America for all of us.”
Restoring national security, growing the middle class, ending gun violence and getting young people to be hopeful rather than apathetic for the future are among the issues that Quartey’s campaign is focused on.
“These cyberattacks are not decreasing…they’re increasing in scope and they’re very strategic,” he said.
As a cybersecurity professional, having worked in cybersecurity abroad for a number of years, Quartey affirmed that these attacks are a definite threat to national security. He named recent incidents like the SolarWinds cyber attack, which struck a small software company with ties to the Fortune 500 companies, as well as the targeting of USAID and other government entities.
When speaking about gun violence, Quartey said the Saugus High School shooting in 2019 is something that the community has “not completely healed from.” Gun violence is something Quartey noted as a personal issue, as he lost his older brother to gun violence several years ago.
“As a war fighter… this is something that our local community should not have to deal with,” Quartey pressed.
As a father of two biracial children, Quartey said young people should not feel hopeless when looking at politicians or elected officials and that they should use their voice and passion to give back to the community, emphasizing compassion and open-mindedness. He believes that “the public discourse, the lack of civility, the lack of compassion, the lack of understanding and the inability for people to disagree” encouraged him to run for office, along with the belief that politicians must be held to a higher standard.
He was reminded of a quote spoken by former president Barack Obama and said “we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together and unless we perfect our union by understanding we may have different stories but we hold common hopes: a better future for our kids and our grandkids.”
A California native previously stationed in La Jolla until he retired, Quartey and his wife and children moved to Valencia before he founded Safiyah Partners in Valencia in 2019, where he serves as the manager of “an entrepreneurial investment firm formed to acquire and lead a single privately-held enterprise,” according to LinkedIn. He said he has plans to get to know and interact with voters on a more personal level. He recognizes that the community is multicultural and diverse and expressed his excitement to get to talk to voters. The campaign’s current focus is on fundraising, which to Quartey “means more than just raising money to run a campaign and build this movement… it also means getting our message out there.” He said he seeks to personally talk to people in the community, whether it’s over the phone or in-person, especially as a fresh face and someone who was apolitical in uniform.
“People will get to know me as a person and they will see that there is substance here and there is a genuine desire to be a leader,” he noted.
Quartey jumped into a crowded race, with former assemblywoman Christy Smith, Simi Valley City Councilmember Ruth Luevanos and Skirball Cultural Center operations project manager Rhoda Nazanin all vying for Garcia’s seat. He’s the fifth Democrat to run, however Antelope Valley resident Chris Bellingham dropped out of the race on May 28. Quartey commended the current candidates for being in public service, which he believes is something “rather unique” in America. Quartey said when looking at the candidates on the Democratic side, he sees people who are “different” but “don’t have the depth” that he has, mentioning his time overseas in the international arena working with foreign peers and allies.
Quartey said he can take the same skill sets gained while serving in the Navy and grow with the community in Santa Clarita as well as other representatives on Capitol Hill.
“I am someone that is an independent thinker… a problem-solver…passionate… purposeful… and a patriot.”
Tips? Leave a message with The Santa Clarita Valley Proclaimer: (661) 463-3228