New Age guru and former West Hollywood resident Marianne Williamson is running for the US House of Representatives in California’s 33rd District as an independent candidate. Since 1975, Democrat Henry Waxman has held the seat, which represents Beverly Hills, West LA, Brentwood and many beachside communities, including Santa Monica.
Waxman was West Hollywood’s representative in Congress until 2012 when redistricting shifted the city into the 28th district. Rep. Adam Schiff now represents West Hollywood.
Williamson is the founder of the meals-on-wheels non-profit Project Angel Food, which delivers food to people with HIV/AIDS, and a best-selling author whose spiritual book “A Return to Love” spent 39 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 1992. She made her campaign announcement Sunday before a group gathered at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills.
Williamson holds spiritual talks every Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Arc Theater (formerly the Regent Showcase) at 614 La Brea Ave. just south of Melrose. Those talks are based on her study of “A Course in Miracles,” a book about “transformative thinking” based on spiritual principles.
The 61-year-old Williamson has long advocated for women’s empowerment, peace, nuclear disarmament and environmental issues. She frequently incorporates her political views into her spiritual talks.
“I do not think of this move as a career change,” Williamson said on her website. “Rather, I feel I’m further expanding my work by taking the transformational principles to which I have dedicated myself for the last 30 years into another area where they are sorely needed.”
Williamson says she does not consider the 74-year-old Waxman, who is the ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, an opponent. Instead, she says, “We’re simply candidates for the same position.”
“Mr. Waxman has been a good congressman for 38 years, and I believe he deserves appreciation and respect,” she states on the website. “But a new conversation is required now, and the political status quo – even the best of it – cannot provide that. Waxman knows many things because he’s been in congress for 38 years, but I know many things because I have not been. Institutional memory is important in any organization, but so are fresh ideas.”
A Houston native, Williamson is the emeritus chair for The Peace Alliance, an organization dedicated to promoting a culture of peace and the facilitator of Sister Giant women’s empowerment seminars. In 1990, she founded Project Angel Food to bring meals to people with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
Williamson began doing weekly spiritual talks in Los Angeles in 1984 during the early days of the AIDS crisis, a time when there were no drugs available and many people said AIDS was God’s condemnation of homosexuality. She quickly developed a large gay following because she talked of miracles and of a loving, forgiving God.
In a 2011 interview with Frontiers Magazine, Williamson credited her initial success to gay men, saying “Gay men gave me my career.”