State Sen. Monique Limon
State Sen. Monique Limon, D-Santa Barbara, urged Democratic Party activists to battle conservative takeover attempts on local school boards. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

State Sen. Monique Limon called on Democrats Monday to battle the “infiltration” of conservatives at the local school boards, city councils and supervisorial races.

“As a party, we are being attacked left and right for our ideas, our values — that all members of our community are part of our community, and deserve to be part of a history that is taught in education,” said Limon, D-Santa Barbara.

She was one of several speakers at Monday’s annual Democratic Party Labor Day event at Tucker’s Grove Park near Goleta.

Limon, pumping her fist, cited the Temecula Valley Unified School District, which in July voted to reject a state-endorsed curriculum that includes the late gay rights leader Harvey Milk, a former member of the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors.

She said the inclusion of LGBTQ+ history and struggles has unfortunately been “politicized.”

“At the state level, we are fighting that,” Limon said. “At all levels, our values are being challenged. This isn’t just about a name or an elected official. It’s the core values that as Democrats we represent.”

Party brass, activists, and elected officials gather every year on Labor Day to celebrate the struggles and success of the workers and the labor movement. The event is also a kick-off to the next election season.

Third District Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann is running for re-election, and is expecting a challenge from a Republican opponent in the March primary.

Hartmann cited the county’s passage of the recent Community Workforce Agreement, which requires local union labor for capital projects costing more than $10 million.

Third District Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann
Third District Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann spoke at the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party picnic and touted the benefits of the county’s Community Workforce Agreement. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

“A lot of big contractors come from outside of Santa Barbara County and bring in their employees to work here,” Hartmann said. “This community workforce agreement means we will hire locally.”

About 200 people attended the event.

Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Santa Barbara, was the first speaker and roused up the crowd.

He said Republicans stand for bickering and trying to shut down the government. He cited laws he and Democrats worked on at the federal level, including making it less expensive to buy prescription drugs.

“Seniors will now not have to pay more than $2,000 a year, at the most, for the prescription drugs,” Carbajal said. “People who have diabetes will not have to pay more than $35 a month for their insulin.”

He also cited the passage of the Safer Communities Act, a gun control measure, the PACT Act, which expands health benefits to U.S. veterans, and the CHIPS and Science Act, which ensures the building of semiconductor chips in the U.S.

State Assemblyman Gregg Hart, D-Santa Barbara, who attended the San Luis Obispo Democratic Party Picnic earlier in the day, pointed out that Democrats have taken over the legislative seats on the Central Coast.

State Assemblyman Gregg Hart
State Assemblyman Gregg Hart, D-Santa Barbara, noted that Democrats have taken over most seats in the legislature on the Central Coast. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

“It is really impressive what the two counties have accomplished,” Hart said. “Both of our counties were pretty purple places. There were Republicans in the legislature, local government level, and we have pretty much extinguished that in Santa Barbara County.”

He mentioned the creation of the Central Coast Caucus, which has worked to grow power in Sacramento. The group has assembled 10 lawmakers from Hollister to Ventura County.

“We are turning our county and the whole state of California a deeper shade of blue,” Hart said.

Darcel Elliott, who chairs the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party, delivered a speech promoting the power of unions to equalize the playing field between employers and their bosses.

“For all of history, the dynamic has been that employees should be grateful to employers for creating jobs, for giving them jobs, and that they are dependent on them for their survival,” Elliott said.

“The reality is, and this is becoming more and more clear with the great resignation and COVID just changing the dynamics of labor, that corporations and employers are dependent on the employees.”