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Das Williams Talks Politics, His Career During Visit to San Marcos High School

Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, held a politically informative presentation on Dec. 5 for teacher Luke Ohrn’s Law and Society class and Janelle Whaley’s Economics class. He generously shared the story of his career and discussed topics currently being debated in the Legislature.

Williams represents the 37th Assembly District, so he acts on behalf of Santa Barbara County and part of Ventura County. He grew up in Isla Vista and attended Santa Barbara City College, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara. On a daily basis, he said he works to better the Santa Barbara community and California as a whole.

His focuses include environmentalism and higher education, two subjects he is very passionate about. He was previously the chairman of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education. Currently, he chairs the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and serves on the Banking and Finance Committee.

In the months leading up to the midterm election, Williams heavily supported the “Yes on Measure P” campaign, which would have banned fracking in Santa Barbara County. With his history in environmental science, Williams says he speaks out against the use of harmful chemicals used to drill for oil. Even though the ballot initiative did not pass, Williams said he makes a constant effort to better the environment and encourages others to reduce their carbon footprint.

Williams also works to make higher education more accessible to anyone interested in a college degree. In the past 10 years, the UCs and CSUs have lost a lot of funding. UC attempted to resolve the problem by raising tuition costs for all students, whereas the CSUs cut back on admissions. He said he believes that all students are entitled to higher education, whether it’s through community college or universities, or a combination of both.

In the classes, Williams’ main point was that America’s youth — meaning all high school students in California — can have a huge affect in politics and the well-being of the country. He noted that if someone does not make a decision regarding politics, someone else will make it for them.

“Politics are not positive or negative,” he explained. “It is the exercise of your inherent power as a citizen.”

Williams encourages anyone 18 or older to vote, and those younger than 18 should make any difference they can, whether it’s volunteering on a campaign or encouraging family and friends to vote.

“Anyone who will be 18 before the next election can register now,” Williams said. “If you don’t do anything in politics, things will still happen to you in politics. It is all about realizing that you have power and exercising that power so that other people don’t exercise it against your will.”

— Ella Jensen is a San Marcos High School student and feature editor at The King’s Page. Follow The King’s Page on Twitter: @smkingspage. This article is republished with permission.

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