The coming battle for control of Congress in 2018 has a new combatant, one that would bring significant experience in the mortgage space to the House of Representatives.
Katie Porter, who served as California’s independent monitor in the nationwide $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement from 2012 to 2014 and boasts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. as a mentor, announced that she is running for a seat in the House of Representatives in 2018.
Porter is challenging Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Calif., who currently holds the seat for the Orange County’s 45th district.
Porter, who is currently a professor of law at the University of California-Irvine, attended Harvard Law School, studying under Warren before Warren ran for Senate.
In July 2015, HousingWire Magazine featured Porter in an article about the efforts mortgage servicers should be taking to better communicate with borrowers.
HousingWire attended a meeting of Hope Now, the voluntary, private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers and non-profit counselors, where Porter was the featured speaker.
During the meeting, Porter discussed lessons learned during her time as the California mortgage settlement monitor and how the servicers in the room, which included executives from Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Nationstar Mortgage, Ocwen Financial, and others, could improve their communication with borrowers.
During the session, and after during an interview with HousingWire, Porter spoke of Warren’s influence on her career.
“One of her big things was that you have this knowledge and expertise, put it to good use,” Porter said of Warren.
And as Porter told HousingWire, that’s why she travels to speak at conferences and meetings like the Hope Now session, using her position as an academic to “tell it like it really is.”
Now, Porter, who is also a long-time consumer advocate, will attempt to bring that same attitude to Congress.
And she’s doing it with the full support of Warren, who says she trusts Porter implicitly to “take on Donald Trump” and others.
"Katie is a fighter! She's been in the trenches with me fighting for families for nearly two decades — and she's gotten real results,” Warren said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
“She's fought relentlessly for important protections that safeguard consumers and force banks to give families a fair shake,” Warren continued. “There's no one I trust more to take on Donald Trump and the entrenched special interests in Washington on behalf of working families.”
Porter also has the support of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who appointed Porter as the monitor of the California mortgage settlement while she was California attorney general.
“Katie has spent her career battling powerful Wall Street banks who take advantage of consumers and families,” Harris said in a statement posted on Porter’s campaign website. “She will be just as relentless in Congress fighting against the powerful Washington special interests on behalf of our families.”
As this article from The Hill notes, Porter faces an uphill battle to win the seat from Walters because Republicans have held the 45th district seat since 1983. But the article notes that Hillary Clinton carried the district in 2016’s election by more than five points.
On her campaign site, Porter lays out the vision for her campaign, and ties Walters to President Donald Trump.
“As a consumer advocate, I know what it means to fight. I’ve spent nearly 20 years taking on Wall Street banks and powerful financial institutions who cheat middle-class families,” Porter says in the “Why I’m Running” section of her site. “Now, I’m running for Congress to take on Donald Trump and the powerful special interests in Washington on behalf of Orange County families.”
Porter notes her work as the mortgage settlement monitor in improving the state’s mortgage rules but says that there’s still work to be done in Washington on larger issues.
“California families have a deep desire to move up the economic ladder and provide financial security for their loved ones. But too often, families who play by the rules still find themselves at the mercy of a system that favors powerful special interests who can buy influence in Washington,” Porter says.
“Now, Donald Trump and Congresswoman Mimi Walters are making that reality worse. Time and again, Walters has sided with Trump and Washington special interests at our families’ expense,” Porter says.
“We need leaders in Congress who will stand up to Donald Trump,” Porter concludes. I’m running to continue the work I’ve always done – to take on the powerful special interests on behalf of our families.”