Friday, November 24 , 2017, 9:04 am | Fair 57º

 
 
 
 

New Beginnings Counseling Center Salutes Congresswoman Lois Capps

Afternoon party pays tribute to her years of service to the community and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives

New Beginnings Counseling Center board president Diane Pannkuk, left, with Lois Capps, center, honoree and congresswoman, and honorary committee member Betty Stephens at the center’s tribute at El Paseo Restaurant.
New Beginnings Counseling Center board president Diane Pannkuk, left, with Lois Capps, center, honoree and congresswoman, and honorary committee member Betty Stephens at the center’s tribute at El Paseo Restaurant. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

New Beginnings Counseling Center honored U.S. Rep. Lois Capps’ years of service to the community at a lovely late afternoon party held at the historic El Paseo Restaurant.

Guests enjoyed delicious Mexican small bites, wine and cocktails, plus live music performed by guitarists Jerry Pike and Rob Bird-Robinson.

Capps, a congresswoman who has been repeatedly voted the “nicest House member” in Washingtonian magazine by both parties, has resided in Santa Barbara since 1963. She is a trained nurse and in 1984 served as director of Santa Barbara County’s Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Project and the Parent and Child Enrichment Center. In 1990, she received a master’s degree in education from UCSB and taught early childhood education at SBCC for 10 years.

In 1998, Capps was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, filling the seat formerly occupied by her late husband, Walter Capps, a politician and religious studies professor at UCSB.

Capps has served in the House for 18 years and will be retiring this year from public service. She has sponsored or co-sponsored more than 220 bills that have become law, founded the Congressional Nursing Caucus and the School Health and Safety Caucus, and currently serves on both the Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce committees.

“Lois has been a fixture of support in this community for many years,” New Beginnings board president Diane Pannkuk said. “She has always been dedicated to improving the health and wellness of disadvantaged individuals. We are so pleased to be able to honor her and her service to our community at this tribute.

“Thanks to Mrs. Capps, Santa Barbara has one of the largest programs in the country for the rapid rehousing of veterans. Whether it is Thanksgiving or Christmas, Lois is there visiting shelters — meeting and helping the most vulnerable in our community.”

The red, white and blue theme for the event began with a dramatic presentation of the colors by the Vandenberg Air Force Base Honor Guard, followed by the pledge of allegiance led by Tracie Gunderson. David Gonzales performed a stunning rendition of “America the Beautiful.” Later in the program, young Chloe Redit sang a beautiful version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Many kind remarks and compliments about Capps’ dedicated service to the greater Santa Barbara community and the nation were made by several speakers, including Pannkuk; United Way of Santa Barbara County CEO Paul Didier; Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo; state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson; her son and daughter, Todd and Laura; New Beginnings Executive Director Kristine Schwarz; and others.

New Beginnings Counseling Center Executive Director Kristine Schwartz, left, and Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo.
New Beginnings Counseling Center Executive Director Kristine Schwartz, left, and Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

“United Way has hosted 25 years of the volunteer-oriented Day of Caring,” Didier said. “Lois has been there every year to show her support and leadership.”

Following a standing ovation, Capps took the stage.

“This is what we believe in in this country — having a resource like New Beginnings Counseling Center,” she said. “It helps people like veterans who return from their service broken in spirit, mind and body. We owe them. When they enlist, we owe them support for the rest of their lives. They should not be sleeping on our streets. Programs like New Beginnings provide a solution to this problem and, more importantly, it is a model that can replicated in other communities around the country.

“When I retire from Congress, I won’t be commuting back and forth [from Washington, D.C.]. I will have time to get involved here. I look forward to being a volunteer again.”

Event sponsors included El Paseo Restaurant, Judith Hopkinson, Bruce McRoy, Jean Schuyler and many others. The event host committee was chaired by Susan Rose (who was out of town and could not attend), Ericka Brittain, Laura Burton-Capps, Mickey and Dick Flacks, Gabriella Forrester, Gail Teton Landis, Sara Miller McCune, Susan Jordan and Pedro Nava, Diane and Terry Pannkuk, Kristine Schwarz and event planner Judi Weisbart.

New Beginnings Counseling Center provides quality, affordable counseling, shelter, case management and education that strengthens the community and provides its clients with the ability to lead healthy and productive lives.

New Beginnings Counseling Center is located at 324 E. Carrillo St., Suite C in Santa Barbara. Click here for more information about New Beginnings Counseling Center, or call 805.963.7777.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. This article includes reportinf Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Todd and Laura Capps speak to the crowd during the tribute to their mother, Congresswoman Lois Capps. Click to view larger
Todd and Laura Capps speak to the crowd during the tribute to their mother, Congresswoman Lois Capps. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)
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