Thursday, August 16 , 2018, 7:39 pm | Fair 73º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Salud Carbajal, Justin Fareed Square Off in Televised Congressional Campaign Debate

Democrat and Republican candidates avoid dwelling on their parties’ controversial presidential candidates, vow to tackle Washington dysfunction

Democrat Salud Carbajal, right, and Republican Justin Fareed went back and forth Sunday evening in an hour-long KEYT News debate televised from the station’s terrace overlooking Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Democrat Salud Carbajal, right, and Republican Justin Fareed went back and forth Sunday evening in an hour-long KEYT News debate televised from the station’s terrace overlooking Santa Barbara. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

Congressional hopefuls Salud Carbajal and Justin Fareed made their cases to voters Sunday evening in a televised debate less than four weeks before the Nov. 8 general election.

Carbajal, a Democrat who represents Santa Barbara County’s First District on the Board of Supervisors, and Fareed, a Goleta Republican who helps run his family’s medical device business and cattle ranch, are running to replace retiring Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, in a district spanning San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and northern Ventura counties.

Questions in the hour-long debate, put on by Central Coast news station KEYT, were asked primarily by a panel of local journalists, including Tom Bolton, partner and executive editor of Noozhawk; KEYT reporter and evening anchor Beth Farnsworth; Nkechi Ikem, a student and associate news director at KCSB radio at UC Santa Barbara; and Jerry Roberts, co-founder of the Calbuzz website and former managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Questions were also provided by KEYT viewers, and the candidates got to ask each other two questions.

In an effort to break congressional gridlock and work with the entire chamber and the next president, Fareed called for systemic changes in Congress, especially in how it develops the federal budget and spends money.

Carbajal said he would counter congressional dysfunction and partisanship by continuing a history of bipartisan efforts.

At the outset of the debate, Carbajal called for the 24th Congressional District to make the transition to renewable energy, adding he did not support offshore oil operations.

Fareed generally agreed in the long term, saying he wanted a “de-carbonized future, but until that is widely accessible, we have to have a balanced approach.”

When asked about whether Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is temperamentally suited to the job, Fareed insisted it doesn’t matter who is leading his party or the White House because his focus in Washington would be systemically reforming Congress to fight dysfunction.

Carbajal also dodged a question on his party’s presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton — who said in recently leaked emails that she has public and private views on issues — by linking his opponent with Trump, whom Fareed has supported.

On immigration, Carbajal said he supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Addressing mandates in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Republican Justin Fareed called for reforms that would allow for more competition between insurers, which he said would drive down individuals’ costs. Click to view larger
Addressing mandates in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Republican Justin Fareed called for reforms that would allow for more competition between insurers, which he said would drive down individuals’ costs. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

“I believe that in order to have the type of workforce that various industries in this country depend on, such as agriculture, we do need to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” he said.

Fareed advocated for “strengthened borders, an entry–exit visa process” and “a fairly robust guest-worker program for our agriculture.”

When asked about the increasing loads of debt saddling college students, Fareed proposed reforming regulations that he said are preventing students from finding good jobs after college, while promoting vocational and technical schools.

Carbajal argued for free community college education, expanded Pell Grants and financial aid and reforming student-loan programs.

“We need to make sure that we also allow for students to be able to refinance their debt burden just like individuals are able to refinance their mortgages,” he said.

While both said that pre-existing health conditions should be covered by health insurance, as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates, Fareed argued that some of the law’s restrictions should be freed up to allow for more competition between insurers, which he said would drive down individuals’ costs.

Carbajal responded that although the health-care law has done a great job insuring more Americans, there’s room for improvement when it comes to developing a public option, lowering premiums and decreasing the amount of power held by insurers.

Both candidates, however, expressed support for Proposition 64, a state ballot initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana in California, with Carbajal saying too many have been unfairly incarcerated under current laws.

The War on Drugs, Fareed said, is “economically unfeasible and detrimentally affects the future and the lives of many people.”

In response to a question about college students’ debt, Democrat Salud Carbajal called for free community college education, expanded Pell Grants and financial aid and the reform of student-loan programs. Click to view larger
In response to a question about college students’ debt, Democrat Salud Carbajal called for free community college education, expanded Pell Grants and financial aid and the reform of student-loan programs. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

Both also agreed on the need for comprehensive, long-range and sustainable planning at the regional level to secure sufficient water during the chronic drought.

On the issue of taxes and income inequality, Fareed called for a “flatter, simpler, fairer tax system” that he said would ensure “everyone is paying their fair share at all levels.”

Carbajal called for closing a carried-interest loophole in the tax code, ending oil-company subsidies, and making sure that “multinational corporations and individuals — billionaires like Trump — pay their fair share in taxes.”

Both candidates argued that progress needs to be made in tackling the frequency of sexual assault, particularly on college campuses, with Fareed praising the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016 as a good first step in addressing the issue.

Universities and their administrators, Carbajal said, should be held more accountable, and he advocated for legislation compelling them to take greater action when faced with incidences of sexual assault.

Both also asserted that greater support for and improved access to mental health and behavioral wellness resources were the best method for addressing drug addiction.

The two diverged quickly, though, on the topic of gun control.

Carbajal said he supports Proposition 63, which would prohibit high-capacity ammunition magazines and expand ammunition background checks, as well as universal background checks and a ban on both assault-style rifles and high-capacity ammunition clips.

“I’ve served in the Marine Corps, I’ve carried an M16,” said the former Marine reservist. “I know what those weapons of war do.”

The solution to gun violence, Fareed countered, is strengthening resources for mental health and law enforcement.

When the discussion turned to abortion, Carbajal said he was “100 percent pro-choice,” a supporter of Planned Parenthood and would advocate for legislation bolstering the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

Abortion “is a personal decision,” Fareed said. “It’s something I believe politicians need to stay out of.”

As part of the debate, the candidates were allowed to ask each other questions.

When asked by Carbajal whether he would support defunding Planned Parenthood, Fareed said any organization that receives federal dollars should come under close congressional scrutiny to determine whether it generates a return for taxpayers.

“There are many different programs through Planned Parenthood that do yield a return and improve lives,” he added.

In response to a question from his opponent about what he would do differently from his tenure on the Board of Supervisors to fight congressional dysfunction and improve the economy, Carbajal touted his public service, which he said included fighting income inequality and providing greater housing and mental health services.

In a campaign flooded by outside money, Carbajal met a question about whether he could remain free from the influence of his many donors by saying there is too much money in politics and that he supports campaign finance reform.

Fareed said he had numerous local supporters and donors when asked about the considerable sums of out-of-district money flowing in his favor, as well as how he feels about having the support of Greka Energy, an oil company that was responsible for numerous local spills and leaks over the last decade.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >