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Expressions

The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School

Expressions

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Sitting Down with Congressman Salud Carbajal!

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Photo courtesy of Noozhawk.

With the election inching closer, our local races have been getting more attention. Now, more than ever, San Luis Obispo High School students have realized that these local elections impact them.

One of the races that SLOHS has been paying so much attention to is the run for Congress. U.S. Representative Salud Carbajal is running for re-election for a third term and Expressions was lucky enough to be able to sit down (virtually) with Carbajal to get to know more about him and his campaign.

Expressions: What is your background? What inspired you to go into politics?


U.S. Representative Salud Carbajal: I immigrated from Mexico to the United States with my family when I was just five years old. We moved around a bit, and ultimately settled in Oxnard where my father found a job as a farmworker. I went to college at UC Santa Barbara and signed up to serve our country in the Marine Corps. I continued to serve our community, first as a Santa Barbara County Supervisor and now as a Member of Congress. I became a public servant because I wanted to work to make life better for people in our community and our country, which is what inspired me to go into politics.

Expressions: What environmental policies do you favor? Do you have your own?


Carbajal: I favor environmental policies that address the continued threat of climate change. That means preventing new oil and gas development, working to reduce pollution, and curbing carbon emissions. I’ve introduced bills to block oil and gas drilling off our coast and on public lands – like the Carrizo Plain National Monument. That’s one step, but I also want to create new energy opportunities. That’s why I’ve been working to bring offshore wind, solar, and other renewable energy to our region, creates new jobs and helps us save the planet at the same time!

Expressions: What should be done about fracking locally, ever since Measure G in the 2018 election did not pass?


Carbajal: Fracking is dangerous, bad for our environment, and hinders our ability to combat climate change. I do not support new fracking, especially on our public lands. I’ve introduced the California’s Land Preservation and Protection Act to block fracking and drilling on federal lands in California.

Expressions: What plans do you have for working with a possible Biden administration?


Carbajal: If Biden wins, I look forward to working with a Biden Administration to address the needs of the Central Coast. I will work to get federal investment for infrastructure projects and renewable energy development. I will also work with the Administration to reform our immigration system, expand affordable housing opportunities, and better support our public schools.

Expressions: Alternatively, if Trump were to win reelection, what are your plans for what to do in Congress?


Carbajal: Regardless of who is in the White House, I have always and will always work in a bipartisan way to improve life for residents on the Central Coast. I’ve worked with the President to bring federal resources to our community in the wake of natural disasters and I will continue to work with anyone and everyone who is willing to work with me to get things done for the Central Coast.

Expressions: What are you working on in Congress?


Carbajal: In Congress, I’m fighting to address the problems created by coronavirus, protect our environment, and grow our economy and create new jobs. Right now, I’m working to secure another coronavirus stimulus package, to provide needed assistance to families, businesses, and workers who are struggling to get by. I’ve also worked to block fracking and oil drilling, improve our gun laws, and drive down the cost of health care.

Expressions: What have been your proudest accomplishments with your time in Congress?


Carbajal: I’m proud to have gotten nine of my bills passed through the House of Representatives, which were unfortunately blocked by the Senate. I’m most proud to have gotten my bill, the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, passed in the House with bipartisan support. This bill would give the highest level of federal protection to over 240,000 acres of land on the Carrizo Plain, preventing any oil and gas drilling or development on the precious region. I was also able to move forward the California Clean Coasts Act, which blocks oil and gas drilling off our coastline. I am particularly proud this year to have helped pass into law an educational partnership between Cal Poly and the Air Force, which will direct $2.5 million to Cal Poly’s Aerospace Engineering program and mini-satellite program. Lastly, I’m proud to support legislation that drives down the cost of medication and enhancing the Affordable Care Act by creating a public option.

Expressions: After contracting COVID-19, how do you think we need to control it? What measures would you sign into legislation at the national level?


Carbajal: We need a national strategy, backed by science, to tackle the pandemic. That strategy needs to include funding to improve our testing capabilities, contact tracing, and treatment. That is the only way we will be able to safely reopen our schools and businesses.

Expressions: Do you support making ethnic/cultural studies a requirement?


Carbajal: I believe education is an important tool for improving tolerance and understanding of different cultures. It’s important that our curriculum gives students a diverse, accurate portrayal of our shared history. One way we could achieve that goal is through an ethnic/cultural studies requirement, and it is certainly worth including in the curriculum.

Expressions: What measures need to be taken to address racial justice? What kind of legislation would you support or propose?


Carbajal: Black Americans and other minorities have struggled under the weight of systemic discrimination for centuries. Minority men and women in our country face disparities in income, education outcomes, access to health care, and maternal mortality rates, to name just a few. The peaceful protests we are seeing, and the long overdue conversations that have occurred throughout our country, are an extension of past civil rights movements. I am proud to be a cosponsor of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which marks the first-ever comprehensive legislation to reform police practices and enhance the relationship and trust between police officers and all the members of the communities they serve.

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