California Congresswoman Lois Capps has been increasing her visibility at University of California Santa Barbara and throughout the community in preparation for the upcoming election. Capps has been present at events concerning student loan interest rates and the future of education, and her campaign has been a consistent presence on the campus, putting up “Support Lois Capps” signs and registering students to vote in preparation of the June 5 election.
Ashley Schapitl, press secretary for Lois Capps, said Capps has a sincere concern for the future of university students and is concerned about the rise in tuition costs.
“College affordability is obviously one of her top priorities,” said Schapitl. “She thinks it’s very important to help save students’ money.”
According to Schapitl, Capps is concerned about tuition costs not only because of the burden it places on students, but the burden it places on society as a whole.
“It ties into the economy because there are a number of economists that have said we have clear evidence that students are burdened with so much debt, they can’t go out and buy a car or a house,” said Schapitl. “It’s been a drab on the economy and slowing economic growth.”
The organization Gauchos for Capps has been heading the UCSB component of the campaign. Christie Pryor, the organization’s president, helps coordinate the effort and coordinate other volunteers supporting Capps.
“It always surprises me how down-to-earth and accessible Lois Capps is,” said Pryor. “But when you consider that she was voted the ‘Nicest Member of Congress’ by her fellow representatives, her normalcy seems appropriate.”
Pryor said Capps’ connection with UCSB students and her dedication to education make her the best candidate.
“The students of UCSB mean the world to Lois since she attended our school herself,” said Pryor. “She got her master’s in education here, and identifies herself as a Gaucho for life. Our congresswoman often visits our campus to talk to everyday students about how to improve our educational opportunities, and she is passionate about giving all Gauchos the chance to land a dynamic job after graduating.”
Capps is not running unopposed in the upcoming election. Republican Abel Maldonado, Republican Chris Mitchum and Independent Matt Boutte are challenging Capps for California’s 24th Congressional District seat. The primary election is held on June 5 with the concluding election to be held on November 6.
Independent candidate Matt Boutte is a 26-year-old newcomer to politics studying law at Georgetown University. Boutte said his age doesn’t hinder his ability and instead lets him understand UCSB students.
“Being young myself, I understand the importance of having a voice at the table in Congress,” said Boutte. “As soon as Congress gets its act together about addressing the looming problems we face together as a nation (which I sincerely hope will be soon), we’re going to have to face the fact that some sacrifices will have to be made. Sacrifices will be asked of our generation. Having young people at the table when those discussions and negotiations are occurring is essential to the legitimacy of the process and to having fresh perspectives and approaches.”
Boutte went on to say that UCSB students and the community should be concerned with this election as they migrate into the world outside of college.
“Young citizens and voters really have the most at stake heading into this election since the policy decisions that are made will affect us for decades to come,” said Boutte.
Chris Mitchum, one of the Republican candidates vying for the seat, said that while he has known Capps for a number of years, their political differences have kept them apart.
“This is a unique race,” said Mitchum, “People understand that a vote to get our country back is a vote to get our country back on track.”
Capps believes she’s the right woman for the position and said she’ll support UCSB and California students.
“I have always stood on the side of students and young Californians,” said Capps. “UCSB is a jewel and it’s crucial to ensuring that the next generation will have the education and skills to compete in a competitive global marketplace. We must make college more affordable so everyone will have the opportunity to succeed.”
Capps concluded with a sentiment echoed by her interns.
“Go out and vote,” said Capps. “Your vote makes a big difference, and I hope you’ll engage in the political process.”