Two candidates debated Wednesday for the position of external vice president for local affairs, a position that maintains and strengthens the relationship between UCSB students and the local community.

Student Action Coalition member Deanna Kavanaugh-Jones and Gauchoholics member Scott McDowell said the EVPLA needs to bridge the gap between students and the I.V. community and focused most of the actual debate on UCSB’s housing situation.

“Housing isn’t as important now,” McDowell said. “We must focus on the relations of the people.”

“Housing affects all of us here at UCSB,” Kavanaugh-Jones-Jones said. “Housing shouldn’t take a back seat.”

Both candidates gave full support to all initiatives on the ballot this coming election, such as the base fee increase, and supported more funding for A.S. programs. Both candidates also expressed their concerns for safety and suggested blue-light phones and more lighting in I.V. and surrounding areas.

“Safety is a huge issue,” Kavanaugh-Jones said. “It’s really important – especially with safety – to educate this community and change the attitudes of students and I.V. residents alike.”

“[We must] educate the dorm folk to make a safer UCSB over time,” McDowell said. “Education is key, and also safety is key.”

Kavanaugh-Jones, who has worked with the Student Activities Committee, SCORE, the Environmental Affairs Board and I.V. Tenants Union, stressed the integration of students into the surrounding community.

“The student voice needs to be heard, especially in the I.V. community,” Kavanaugh-Jones said, “[to make it] a place where students and residents can come together.”

McDowell, a member of Theta Chi and the Gaucho Locos, held a similar view, citing the individual issues of the student body apart from those of the I.V. community.

“The students in I.V. don’t necessarily interact with the families in the community, he said. “We need to think of ways of intertwining the wants of the community as a whole.”

The 2001-2002 EVPLA, Ana Rizo, endorsed Kavanaugh-Jones.

“Kavanaugh-Jones definitely exhibits dedication and passion for the community,” Rizo said. “[She] sees the diversity in our community and wants to represent all of it. … She understands the need for a safer and healthier I.V. [and] has good experience.”