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Old April 11 2013, 11:46 PM   #7
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Re: George Takei and Politics

Ah, so the plot thickens a bit....

Back in 1980, George Takei threw his hat into the ring to campaign for the California State Assembly (the lower of California's two Legislative houses). Mr. Takei entered the race for California State Assembly District 46--one of California's 80 Assembly Districts. (The 46th District is, logically enough, one of the Assembly Districts located in Mr. Takei's hometown of the greater Los Angeles area.)

Mr. Takei attempted to mount a Primary challenge against Democrat Mr. Mike Roos in February of 1980. Mr. Roos was the incumbent in the 46th Assembly District, so Mr. Takei would have an uphill battle. But Roos had only been elected "recently" in 1976, so Roos wasn't too entrenched yet in California politics, and Takei had hopes of a successful primary challenge. Unfortunately, Mr. Roos had other ideas.

At this point, Starlog Issue 43 from February of 1981 picks up the story better than I could.


Actor George Takei decided during the
past election season to take the road a
number of actors have taken recently— to
follow in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan and
enter politics. But Takei's Star Trek role
caused him to give up that dream. A fifty-
year-old law that requires politicians to be
given equal time on the airways was his

In his bid to become a state assemblyman
in the last election, Takei's opponent, Mike
Roos, insisted on equal time from local sta-
tion KTLA, Los Angeles, on which episodes
of Star Trek are rerun. The station, instead of
giving in to Roos, considered two other al-
ternatives: taking the series off the air alto-
gether during the election season or blacking
out episodes in which Takei appeared. Rather
than see the series tampered with, Takei
decided to withdraw from the race.

"It wasn't just my earnings that were af-
fected," Takei explains, referring to the
residuals the actors receive from reruns, "but
those of all the people involved in the show."

Takei felt that Roos' insistence for equal
time with his Star Trek performances was ter-
ribly unjust. "If he really wanted equal
time," Takei postulates, "he should have
gotten into my costume and mouthed my
words. Besides there are episodes where I am
zapped by an alien force and act erratically or
catch an alien disease and go crazy. Would
that help me with voters?"

This isn't the first time Takei has run for
office and been charged with having an unfair
advantage because of his Star Trek image. In
1973, he ran for the Los Angeles City Council
and encountered similar problems.

"Let me tell you how ridiculous this law
is," Takei says. "When I ran for the city
council, an animated series of Star Trek had
to be blacked out in Los Angeles because my
voice accompanied an idealized drawing of

So, after meeting wih Roos and resolving whatever points of contention were drawing Takei into the Primary race, Takei did, indeed withdraw from the 1980 California State Assembly race. (I don't know how much, if at all, Mr. Takei's then-closeted sexual orentation played a factor in his withdrawl from the race. I take him at his word that a solution to the "equal time" problem that would have caused his fellow Trek family to lose out on their residuals was the motivating factor for his withdrawl.)

By the way: Mr. Roos went on to win the November 4, 1980 election, and he served in the California Assembly until 1991.

November 4, 1980 election results
California State Assembly District 46

Mike Roos Democrat 65.8%
Alon Cory Republican 28.1%
Johnnie R. Garner Libertarian 6.1%
Greg Schnitzer
Co-Executive Producer
Star Trek Phase II

Last edited by GSchnitzer; April 12 2013 at 12:10 AM.
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