On Tuesday, Oct. 2, CLU became the political hub of Ventura County’s 26th congressional district.
Community members, media officials and California Lutheran University students alike filled the Lundring Events Center.
Only 200 people were allowed into the debate audience.
However, it was also broadcast live on CSPAN and KCLU.
Candidates Senator Tony Strickland, Republican, and Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, Democrat, discussed important policy issues such as gay marriage, education, taxes and term limits.
To open the debate, CLU President Chris Kimball welcomed the press and other audience members to the campus.
Kimball then introduced the evening’s moderator, CLU political science professor Herbert Gooch.
Ventura County Star Sacramento Bureau Chief Timm Herdt and Pacific Coast Business Times Editor Henry Dubroff also asked the candidates questions.
Retired CLU history professor Leonard Smith said he was “really eager to hear the debate.”
Smith came to the debate to find out whether Strickland had taken the Social Security and Medicare protection pledge, which opposes all efforts to make changes to Social Security and Medicare.
The state senator had in fact taken the pledge back in August.
Smith also hoped to hear each candidate’s debate on taxes.
Strickland repeated the phrase “people need to keep more of what they earn” and said that 35 percent is too high a rate for taxes.
Brownley said “I believe everyone has to pay their fair share” and admitted she was not sure what the exact rates of a “fair share” would be.
Joshua Gray attended the debate as a volunteer with the political science department.
Gray was interested in hearing what the taxation policies of the candidates would be.
After hearing the debate he was not sure which of the candidates’ views he preferred.
“Brownley chose to say almost nothing and admitted to not knowing anything about it, and Strickland played the card of ‘I won’t tax you,” said Gray. “I can’t pick a favorite there.”
Gray said he thought it was “incredibly cool” that the debate was held on the CLU campus.
“This campaign is one of the biggest in the nation. It’s getting huge press attention,” said Gray. “I was afraid our school wasn’t going to get in on the action. I think it’s good for our publicity and for establishing ourselves as a higher education facility in this county,” he said.
Each candidate expressed their views on education.
Brownley, who has served as a school board president, wants to make sure that “middle class students could go to college and not come out with a massive debt that would burden them for years to come.”
Strickland said that the cost of higher education is too high.
“We can’t treat people as an ATM machine…always asking for money,” said Strickland.
Junior Kate Cabebe was interested in hearing about the candidates’ views on immigration.
In response to questions about immigration and the Dream Act, Strickland said, “the Dream Act wouldn’t be necessary if we had a sensible immigration policy in this state…We need to do whatever we can to ensure that there is a path to citizenship.”
On this topic Brownley said “the Dream Act is important for young people who come here as no fault of their own.” She said we need “a pathway to citizenship that will keep our families together.”
After hearing each candidate, Cabebe sided with Strickland.
“Strickland really spoke to me…not even because I got a free shirt…It just played out that way,” said Cabebe.
Published Oct. 17, 2012