Pedro Nava, Democratic candidate for the 35th District California State Assembly representative, visited Storke Plaza on Wednesday to rally student support for the upcoming Nov. 2 election.
Nava made his appearance at the Student Activities Fair in the plaza, amidst various campus organizations and clubs which were tabling at the time. Although he did not give a formal speech, the candidate introduced himself to students and talked candidly about his plans for Isla Vista, UCSB and the environment between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Nava, the commissioner of the California Coastal Commission, is running against Republican candidate Bob Pohl in the Nov. 2 election. The current assemblywoman, Democrat Hannah Beth Jackson, cannot run for another term this year due to California term limits.
Nava said his plan for I.V. involves increased input from the student community, though he said he was unfamiliar with the specifics of the proposed parking plan and I.V. Master plan.
“I’ve been promoting environmental protection, adequate housing, curbing, streetlights – just issues of public safety,” he said. “I haven’t looked at the parking plan, but any plan that doesn’t involve community input is going to have a problem. It’s important to make sure all the stakeholders have a say … I would only make recommendations [about parking or the I.V. Master Plan] after listening to students. If you think you have all the answers, that means you’re not listening.”
To support UCSB students, Nava said he would close corporate tax loopholes to provide the funding to stop ballooning tuition costs and get more money to the state’s universities.
“Anything that limits access by students to universities has to stop,” he said. “We need to set fees based on a realistic figure that people can afford. The universities are California’s promise of a future, and that promise has to be bright.”
Nava emphasized his eight years of experience in environmental work in issues such as offshore oil drilling and public beach access, and said his knowledge far exceeds that of his opponent.
“I have a proven history of environmental protection,” he said. “They know in Sacramento that I’m going to fight for the environment, and for working families and students.”
Nava also said that Pohl has received funding from anti-environmentalist groups.
“It’s important for voters on campus to know that oil companies, real estate developers and insurance companies have put in hundreds of thousands of dollars to support my opposition and to defeat me,” Nava said. “I’ve stood up to oil and real estate developers, and they’re coming after me.”
Vice President of Campus Democrats Courtney Weaver, a third year political science and history of public policy major, said she thought Nava’s visit to UCSB reminded students about the importance of their votes in the upcoming election.
“A lot of times, people forget state government is important and decisions from the state assembly affect student’s lives,” Weaver said. “It’s important for people to really understand this race – the opposition is posing as a moderate, but the same people supporting him are the people supporting George Bush.”
Third year business and economics major Diana Hang met Nava as he spoke to various students at the fair and said the candidate failed to make a positive impression on her.
“I don’t think he’s out to really help I.V.,” Hang said. “We asked him a question about noise violations and all he said was, ‘Oh, you guys should be respectful.’ He beat around the question and was really brief.”