Republican senatorial candidate Tom Campbell stopped in Santa Barbara on Friday to discuss politics at the University Club downtown.

Campbell is currently running in the statewide Republican Party primary, which will be held on June 8. The elected Republican candidate will square off against Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer in the general election Nov. 2. If he succeeds in the primary, Campbell said he hopes to appeal to a largely Democratic group of local voters — UCSB students.

Tom Campbell

Although university students voted heavily Democratic in 2008, Campbell said his views make him a competitive candidate amongst this demographic. He is pro-choice and opposed Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state.

Campbell said he also understands the anxiety of stepping into the job market after college.

“A lot of students getting out of UCSB are reasonably worried,” Campbell said. “I try to do what I can to turn around the economy with a big possibility for jobs. That means lowering the burden on those who start businesses and allow them a little more freedom.”

As a senator, Campbell said he would also reassess the federal government’s 2009 stimulus package. He said the stimulus package plans for public works are inadequate and temporary.

“I would take the money going to the so-called stimulus package and cut what’s left of it in half and use it to lower the pay roll tax for hiring someone who’s been out of work and the other half I would use to retire the debt,” Campbell said. “It’s far better to stimulate the private sector where people have a chance to be permanently employed.”

In addition to pursuing new economic policies, he also has ideas about easing the budget crisis at the University of California. Campbell, a former dean at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, said he supports raising tuition for those who can afford to pay in order to help those who cannot.

“If you can afford it, you pay it,” Campbell said. “If you can’t, but you’re smart enough to get into UCSB, then the tuition paid by those who can will be used to give you a scholarship.”

According to Campbell, these plans would allow the university to avoid pay decreases in order to retain faculty.

Campbell is a former five-term Congressman from Silicon Valley, serving from 1989–93 and again from 1995–2001. He earned a law degree from Harvard in 1976 and a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago in 1980.