A Memo to My Staff About My Run for Congress

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

Dear Refs, Family, and Friends,

Before I take off on a lake trip with my friends, I wanted to leave you with this announcement: For the 2022 midterm elections, my name will be on the primary ballot as an independent candidate for representative of California’s 48th Congressional District. The website is up and for better or worse, the campaign is officially underway. Given the laughably ridiculous underdog status I bring into the race, the most obvious and rational question you might be asking is: why? For that, I have a litany of answers, none more conspicuous than Orange County being one of the most conservative areas in California, perhaps even the country. Around here, there are no progressive voices, even though there are a lot of progressive people. Whenever I see an underserved population, one which I could competently represent, I get the anxiousness to do so. That was one of the reasons I started Ref Union: because we were the most under-appreciated, underpaid, heckled and tormented members of the game. Most grassroots assignors didn’t do anything about it (and still don’t). I felt I could make things better, which I think I have, if even to a tiny degree.

As the pandemic wore on, I had more time to wrestle with the idea. Eventually it dawned on me that there is absolutely no downside to giving this a try. The prize is tremendous, the expectations are minimal, and most importantly, my fight for higher wages and the dignity of the labor class feels suppressed when limited only to the realm of sports officiating. I feel it’s time to branch it out.

Kicking Ferguson and Perez around has already lost much of its appeal. I’d rather kick around Ted Cruz or any idiot that believes “the right to work” is not just a fanciful way of suppressing economic mobility. I want to one day match wits with our incumbent Republican representative, Michelle Steel, or the "Republican-Lite" challenger (masquerading as a Democrat), Harley Rouda. They squared off in 2020 and next year they’ll be engaging in a laborious rematch that’s as appealing as another Mayweather v. Pacquiao.

Neither Steel nor Rouda stand for anything remotely progressive. Both are millionaires that know nothing of the struggles of the working class. Neither give anything more than lip service to environmental protection. Neither endorse Universal Healthcare. To be honest, I don’t know what they stand for. Their entire 2020 battle consisted of hurling mud at each other. Neither candidate expressing any ambition or specific ideas towards making people’s lives better. I think I can do better.

Of course building a campaign out of nothing won’t be easy, but it probably won’t be all that different from when I first started Gray Fox (our name prior to Ref Union). I still remember the days of begging for accounts. I even remember begging to assign free scrimmages just to get my name out there. It took a few years but we entered the pandemic with the most volume and the best games of any agency in Southern California, bar-none. If I could replicate that growth in a political campaign, then by 2024 or 2026, I could have a legitimate shot. But I have to start now. Anyway, if you’ve read this far, kudos to you. If you’re looking for help, then obviously I need as much as possible. A donation of a couple of dollars to keep the campaign afloat would be greatly appreciated. However more importantly would be to get the word out to any prospective progressive voters in the 48th district, which includes Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, any of the Lagunas, Aliso Viejo, Seal Beach, Fountain Valley, and little portions of Santa Ana, Westminster, and Garden Grove. Get on our social media. I changed my Instagram and Twitter handles to simply my own name (@ChrisBalasinski) so hopefully by now you remember how to spell it. For Facebook, our campaign page is @votechris48 until I’m big time enough to turn my profile into a page and have that blue checkmark next to my name (which is more difficult than you may think).

Lastly, do not be afraid to engage me about this decision or politics in general. I’m not going to mention my campaign frequently in Ref Union correspondence. Perhaps a quarterly update here and there but for the most part, this mailing list is going to remain referee-centric with work opportunities and updates on our union’s progression.

To get on the campaign e-mail list, sign up on the website. And if you have any questions, or wish to mock or encourage me, you know all too well how to do so. 😛 I’ll be in touch once I get back from Lake Havasu.

Cheers and well wishes,

Chris Balasinski Ref Union Head Representative Candidate for #CA48


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