Meet Adam Schiff

July 22, 2000

Claudia Peschiutta

GLENDALE -- Pa Harry didn't much like Democrats.

His favorite way of referring to them was, "Those damn Democrats."

Unfortunately for Pa Harry, his grandson, Adam Schiff, joined the


Schiff, 40, became the area's Democratic state senator four years ago

and hopes to go on to Congress in November.


If his parents, Sherry and Ed Schiff, had anything to do with his

choice, Schiff could have gone either way.

Sherry comes from a long line of Republicans and is a registered

member of the party, while Ed comes from a family of Democrats.

Environment may have helped tip the scale.

"I remember, like every kid growing up in Boston, being awed by John

Kennedy," Schiff said.

Despite Schiff's admiration for the Democratic president and other

political figures, such as Winston Churchill, those who knew him as a boy

probably would never have guessed he would one day run for Congress.


"As a kid, he was a little bit quiet," Sherry said. "I remember

saying, 'Adam, you don't tell me that many things. I don't even know if

you're dating.' "

That quiet kid never expected to be voted most likely to succeed by

classmates at the Bay Area high school he attended.

"I was totally shocked," Schiff said. "I didn't think anybody in the

school knew who I was."

His first step toward becoming a legislator came when, as an

undergraduate at Stanford University, he decided to study law instead of


"My parents were appalled when I chose law school," Schiff said.

Sherry said she had been hoping to have a doctor in a family full of


"The law, I guess it's in the family bones," she said.

Her son went on to Harvard Law School and, in 1987, became a criminal

prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Schiff said he never lost a case and even brought about the first

conviction of an FBI agent on espionage charges, but he eventually

decided to do more than just go after criminals.

"You get the sense that for every one you put away, there are two more

where they came from," he said.

So, he decided to run for office, in the hope of making a bigger



His first try was anything but encouraging.

In a special election for a district that has since become part of the

43rd state Assembly District, Schiff said he came in 10th out of 14


His next attempt came in 1994, in a special election for the 43rd

District, which he lost to James Rogan. He lost to Rogan again in the

general election later that year.

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