As gubernatorial candidates Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman debated at the Dominican University in Marin County yesterday evening, the UCen Hub was a lively platform for political discussion.

Arriving at 5:30 p.m., scores of students watched the televised gubernatorial debate in the Hub after local candidates presented their campaign policies. Mike Stoker, a candidate for the 35th District State Assembly seat, Republican 23rd District Congressional candidate Tom Watson and Daraka Larimore-Hall, Santa Barbara Democratic Party chair and Lois Capps’s spokesperson at the event, discussed the future stability and prosperity of the state of California.

[media-credit id=20113 align=”alignleft” width=”225″][/media-credit]Contenders also encouraged students to vote in the Nov. 2 midterm elections by emphasizing the relevance of these political issues to the younger generation.

Watson, a first-time candidate with a military and private sector background, said the country’s dire economic state left him no choice but to run for office.

“I have never been as concerned about the future of our country as I am right now,” Watson said. “We can’t keep spending money that we don’t have.”

Drawing on his experience as a businessman, Watson also emphasized the importance of creating jobs in California.

This issue was reiterated by Stoker, who voiced his willingness to stand up for small businesses. Ironically enough, Stoker said the state’s effort to create green jobs has inadvertently eliminated 4 million jobs in California.

“These jobs are your jobs,” Stoker said. “You’d better start caring about those people who are going to make those jobs.”

Alluding to his own daughter at UCSB, Stoker also said he is dedicated to maintaining the affordability of the UC system for middle-class students.

“You send me to Sacramento and you’re going to send someone who’s going to be out there trying to create jobs and I guarantee that you’re going to send someone who cares about the UC system,” he said.

Additionally, Stoker said he aims to fix the gridlocked bipartisan political system.

“If you want a job done, you have to start electing people that are going to be independent,” Stoker said.

“It’s not about Republicans, Democrats or Independents. It’s about Californians. It’s about Americans.”

However, Larimore-Hall said politics should be kept in the hands of one party.

“We can’t afford to give the car keys back to the folks that ran the car into the ditch,” Larimore-Hall said. “We cannot afford to give power back to the Republican Party.”

Despite these differences in opinion, Larimore-Hall said all candidates should focus their vote on recovering from the economic crisis.

“There is something really dangerous happening in this country,” Larimore-Hill said. “We have the biggest gap we have seen between the wealthy and the rest of us.”