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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 8:26 am | Fair 49º


Gubernatorial Candidate Jerry Brown Makes Campaign Stop at UCSB

Hundreds of students and faculty gather as the Democrat talks about challenges facing the state

Under a gray sky sending down scattered raindrops, gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown began his talk Monday to several hundred UCSB students and faculty seated on the campus lawn by apologizing for the weather.

Hopefully, he said, the fog would lift soon, along with the proverbial fog surrounding his campaign.

Brown, who served as the state’s governor in the 1970s and is now attorney general, has been relatively quiet in his campaign for a Democratic governorship while his two Republican opponents battle it out publicly for June 8’s primary election.

But on Monday, in an event sponsored by the UCSB Campus Democrats and even as he was flanked by a handful of bodyguards, Brown seemed to connect with his mostly student audience and appropriately started out focusing on education, lamenting the cuts that have been put forward.

He began by railing against his opponents, such as Republican candidate Meg Whitman, who have spent millions of their own money to campaign. In March, news reports stated that Whitman had shattered an all-time spending record, putting $27 million into her campaign in the first 11 weeks of the year.

Brown asked what money of that sum could have done for a campus such as UCSB, eliciting cheers from the audience.

Getting the state out of its budget mess and being a champion for working families also topped his agenda, he said.

According to Brown, the state has been through seven recessions since World War I, and has seen its economy rebound each time. But when it does come back, Brown said there should be a sense of collaboration between the two parties in Sacramento, who are forced to cobble together a state budget each year.

“I’m going to work to overcome the silliness of the two parties fighting,” he said.

Budget reform, smarter regulation and job creation were all topics Brown touch on and said he supported.

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Many who attended Monday’s event at UCSB carried signs in support of candidate Jerry Brown. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

He was more skittish on the topic of medical marijuana, saying he was the state’s “top cop” as attorney general and couldn’t comment on it.

Among the crowd were a handful of South Coast political figures, including Goleta Councilwoman Margaret Connell, Goleta Water District members Lauren Hanson and Bill Rosen, and district attorney hopeful Joyce Dudley.

Das Williams, a Santa Barbara city councilman and a candidate for the 35th District Assembly seat, also attended Monday’s event to fuel Brown’s campaign.

“I’m here to make you angry and make you stay angry,” Williams began, acknowledging the fact that California students were among the casualties of the state budget crisis.

Williams contended that taxes and fees on students were raised by a third, something no other demographic would put up with. “If seniors’ taxes were raised by that much, they’d be out in the streets,” he said.

Daraka Larimore-Hall followed, holding up a letter he said had been signed by 6,600 University of California academic employees protesting recent budget cuts. If anyone other than Brown were elected, he said, “we know this will fall on deaf ears.”

In addition to Brown’s appearance on Monday, Whitman visited Santa Barbara last September. Candidate Steve Poizner has yet to make an appearance in town.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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