Local electoral forum focuses on higher education

Taken by Bryan Tuttle

Hosted by ASUCR and ASPB, the “Meet the Candidates” forum took place on Oct. 17. As part one of three events in the “Before the Ballot Political Speaker Series,” the distinguished panel consisted of local candidates for mayor, county supervisor, state assembly, state senate and Congress vying for electoral office in November.

ASUCR President Liam Dow presented a resolution, which asked each candidate to sign a commitment to higher education in California.  “I hereby stand in solidarity with the UCR students; I pledge to prioritize higher education, promote the UCR school of medicine…educate students about the DREAM act, fund the middle class scholarship act, prioritize K-12 and promote regional jobs for high school students,” states the tailored resolutions, which was read by ASUCR President Liam Dow

Moderated by ASUCR Vice President of External Affairs Lazaro Cardenas, the first component of the event involved five-minute individual introductions. The following Q&A session included inquiries about the UCR medical school, higher education and Proposition 30. Each candidate was asked two questions with a three-minute time limit for each one.

Both candidates for Mayor of Riverside, Ed Adkison and Rusty Bailey, were unable to attend the event and sent campaign representatives in their stead.

Bob Buster, candidate for District one County Supervisor (incumbent)
In regards to student voter registration, Buster stated that political participation is not a “natural step” for most, but the active efforts made by younger individuals has led to the preservation of 5,000 acres of citrus trees. The UCR School of Medicine was also a topic he addressed, citing the county’s role in helping fund the school and emphasizing that the school faces challenges of providing medical coverage to a greater population.

Richard Roth, candidate for State Senate
Richard Roth stated that adequate state funding to higher education and K-12 is a fading dream in California. Roth strongly advocated the passage of Proposition 30, which will prevent a $6 billion cut to education—specifically citing a $250 million cut to UC and CSU alone. Roth identified the need to reform California’s educational system through increased structural efficiency and organization.

Jose Medina, candidate for State Assembly
Jose Medina made clear his support of diversity that across public university campuses, especially through initiatives such as the Upward Bound outreach program. With regards to the medical school accreditation, Medina agreed that the first class of 50 medical students will need to be trained to meet the cultural needs in the local Inland Empire, which has dire needs for greater health physicians.  

Kevin Jeffries, candidate for County Supervisor
Kevin Jeffries discussed his greater cooperation between the county and the city by focusing on an educated work force, good health and overall accessibility to local jobs. He said public safety and education are the most critical areas in need of state funding, and added, “When you have 6,000 people in administration at the department of corrections and then you’re cutting education, something’s wrong with that equation.”   

Mark Takano, 41st candidate for US Congress
With student loan debt at an average $25,000 per person, exceeding $1 trillion nationwide, Takano emphasized his belief in the recommitment of higher education through rethinking the master plan and increasing consumer protections. When asked about the role of U.S. foreign policy, Takano stated that the “democratic impulse” of U.S. interventionism must be withheld and federal aid should be used minimally as a motivational tool.  

Ed Adkison, candidate for Riverside Mayor  (represented by Roger Carpenter)
Ed Adkison’s representative explained the candidate’s belief that the role of a mayor in education is to set the agenda that consists of promoting local events and more innovative ideas that promote college and high school graduation rates. “Listen first and learn,” was noted as Adkison’s model. Akison supports private sector entrepreneurship and the growth of new technologies, and if elected, plans to establish a policy that will pay UCR students’ loan debt if they start businesses and create jobs in Riverside.

Rusty Bailey, candidate for Riverside Mayor (represented by Tolby Holmes)
Rusty Bailey’s campaign representative explained how the candidate prioritizes making fiscal and social connections when addressing the needs of UCR. A current city council member, Bailey has the support of the Riverside Unified School District and current Mayor Ron Loveridge. Since many first-year students lack the necessary accessibility to participate in the Riverside community, Bailey will focus on expanding opportunities, building modes of transportation, like a streetcar down University Avenue, and greater attractions in the local community will increase overall interest and civic participation.

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