Salud Carbajal and Brad Allen, candidates running to represent the 24th Congressional District, discussed national issues at a Sunday forum.
Salud Carbajal and Brad Allen, candidates running to represent the 24th Congressional District, discussed national issues at a Sunday forum.  (Courtesy photos)

Congressional candidates Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, and Republican challenger Brad Allen disagreed on abortion rights, gun laws and student loan forgiveness in a forum Sunday night. 

The 24th Congressional District seat represents San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara county residents, and part of Ventura County. 

Carbajal was first elected to the seat in 2016 and is running for re-election against Allen, a pediatric heart surgeon. In the June primary election, Carbajal won 67% of the vote and Allen finished second with 25.7% of the vote. 

Allen attended the forum in person, at the KEYT-TV studios. Carbajal appeared via Zoom from an undisclosed location in Ventura County. The event was moderated by anchor Scott Hennessee and journalists Joshua Molina and Jerry Roberts eached asked the candidates seven questions.

In response to a question about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe vs. Wade, Allen said: “The thing that bothers me about this is the doctors, all the misinformation, they did not outlaw, a lot of people are running around in order to get votes or get people to contribute to their campaign, by saying ‘abortion you aren’t going to be able to have it. That’s not true. The Supreme Court didn’t say that.”

He also said, “the majority of abortions on this country are done by pills, which you can get on a Zoom call, so we are not going back to 1973.”

Carbajal said he opposes the Supreme Court’s decision.  

“It did make it illegal from a federal law perspective,” Carbajal said. “The state should not have the right for women’s decisions, over their reproductive health care and access to abortion. The only decision makers should be women. Whether it’s federal or state, we should have this right.”

He added that he is “100% for allowing women to make decisions over their bodies.”

The two candidates also disagreed over gun control and a ban on assault rifles. 

“When we look at gun control we always pick out little parts of it,” Allen said. “We don’t look at the entire problem. We look at assault weapons. We look at domestic violence. Yes, somebody convicted of domestic violence, probably, should not have a firearm, but we have to look at the larger question.”

He said gun control always comes up when there’s a school shooting.

“Have you ever noticed there’s not a school shooting down in the inner city where there’s a lot of guns?” Allen said. “Because they harden their schools. We don’t address that problem.”

He said an issue that isn’t discussed enough is the 20,000 people a year killed by handguns.

Carbajal said he supports a ban on assault rifles, preventing convicted felons from having access to firearms, and requiring background checks for concealed weapon permits.

He touted legislation passed by Congress to strengthen gun laws. He shared that his sister committed suicide with a firearm when he was a young boy. Carbajal also referenced the 2014 Isla Vista mass shooting when discussing gun laws.

When discussing President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness proposal, Carbajal said he supports Congress also taking action on the issue. 

“I think there’s a lot we can do to continue to bring down the cost of higher education to everyone,” Carbajal said.

Allen disagreed. 

“The student loan program is a typical thing that I would say politicians do,” Allen said. “They try to buy your vote by giving you some money.”

He said throwing money at the problem will increase the cost of tuition. He also said the “free money” will increase inflation.

The candidates also answered questions about transgender rights, climate asylum, caps on spending in Ukraine, nuclear power, COVID-19 vaccine mandates, California’s drought, and gas prices. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Joshua Molina

Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at