Gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General of California Jerry Brown spoke about a number of issues — including increased funding for higher education — during his first major university campaign stop yesterday at UCSB.
Campus Democrats sponsored the event, which marked Brown’s first campaign speech in a series that will be delivered to universities across California. Brown discussed a variety of issues ranging from strengthening environmental policies to prison system reforms.
Brown — a former president of the University of California Board of Regents — also said higher education would have top priority in his campaign and vowed to restructure university finances rather than focus on prison privatization.
“Student fees have gone up to replace state money that, instead of going back into the universities, is going into prisons,” Brown said. “And the state prison system is very inefficient. About 25 percent of the people detained end up returning.”
Brown discussed how financial problems facing the state have intensified and can only be remedied through collaboration between the community and state.
“We’re all in this together,” Brown said. “We have to make criminal law work, support the university and fight fee increases.”
Furthermore, yesterday’s speech addressed climate concerns and the neglect of late political leaders in handling environmental threats.
“The evidence [for global warming] has never been stronger,” Brown said. “If we keep putting carbon in our environment, we’ll be living in a very different world.”
Brown also said California needs a new leader who can prioritize environmental efforts.
“We’re the state of innovation,” Brown said. “We can’t keep moving in the same direction. We need a different transit system, fuel system and building standards.”
Brown criticized his Republican rivals Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner for lacking foresight in their political campaigns.
“The others are just thinking about the short-term [issues],” Brown said. “But it’s important to think about the long term and the long term is investment in schools, the environment and working families.”
Jake Kubrin, a fourth-year history major, said he appreciated hearing Brown speak about the merits of public education.
“I had an idea of who I was [originally] going to support in the race for governor,” Kubrin said. “But listening to him today and hearing the issues he is passionate about helps to confirm my vote for him.”
Additionally, Ian Blue, communications director of Campus Democrats, said he thinks the rally successfully garnered student votes for Brown.
“I think that he addressed the kinds of issues that students at UCSB really care about,” Blue said. “He talked about environmental sustainability and, most importantly, funding for the UC.”