California’s office of the lieutenant governor might just be fulfilling ceremonial responsibilities in the absence of the governor, but UCLA students should take a special interest in this year’s candidates. Among other roles, the elected candidate will sit on the University of California Board of Regents and wield the ability to write policies influencing the futures of students.
With the incumbent, Gavin Newsom, seeking election for governor, Californians are presented with two candidates for the position: Ed Hernandez and Eleni Kounalakis. This board sees a clear winner in Hernandez and endorses him for the position.
Hernandez has served in the California State Senate (D-Azusa) since 2010 and has been instrumental in providing aid to low-income communities by making Medicaid and other forms of health care more accessible. He also has shown a history of prioritizing higher education and advocating against rising tuition costs.
Kounalakis, a former U.S. ambassador to Hungary and campaign fundraiser for former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, has also stated her support for lowering the costs of higher education. However, she lacks the experience and familiarity with California State Legislature her opponent has – a huge red mark on the resume of someone vying to represent the state government as a UC regent.
Sure, the lieutenant governorship might largely play wingman to the governor, but the fact they also have a hand in determining the future of the University is enough reason for students to take heed of someone who will have the power to vote for or against their tuition raises.
What we deserve is someone with a record of understanding the struggles of Californians and the rising costs they face. Hernandez fits that bill.