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Democratic congressional candidates share views at Hammer Museum forum

Democratic candidates discussed immigration, healthcare, education and other policies at the Hammer Museum on Monday. (Sharon Zhen/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Anirudh Keni

February 7, 2018 12:22 am

Democratic congressional candidates said Monday they think the Democratic Party may take back control of the House of Representatives in the next election.

The Hammer Museum hosted “The 2018 Midterms: California’s Blue Wave” forum Monday night, which featured three Democratic candidates looking to unseat Republican incumbents. The candidates said they think college education should be more affordable and the government should support undocumented immigrants.

Katie Hill, who is running to replace Congressman Steve Knight, represents the 25th Congressional District in Santa Clarita. She said she thinks Congress should provide Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients with a pathway to citizenship.

“These are people who have been living and working in America all their life and need protections,” she said.

President Donald Trump ended DACA, which deferred deportation for undocumented individuals brought to the United States as children, in September. Activists are calling on Congress to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which would replace DACA and provide undocumented individuals with the legal status necessary to join the military or enter college.

Katie Porter, who is running to represent California’s 45th Congressional District in Laguna Beach said she supports the DREAM Act because she thinks DACA recipients play an important role in American society and contribute to the economy.

“They are our friends, neighbors, families, our coworkers and we must fulfill our promise to them now,” Porter said.

Several candidates said they do not think the University of California should increase tuition. The UC Board of Regents was originally going to vote on a tuition increase at its January meeting but deferred the vote to May.

Hill said she supports programs that subsidize public education, such as community colleges.

“My family entered the middle class only because of the GI Bill making education free, and everyone needs that opportunity,” she said.

She added she thinks congressional Republicans’ efforts to reduce the Children’s Health Insurance Program could make it more difficult for children from low-income families to attend college. CHIP provides state-sponsored health care for nearly nine million children, and Hill said she thinks without the program, it will be difficult for families to balance medical costs with rising tuition.

Porter said she thinks college affordability is a problem that affects society as a whole, and added she thinks the government needs to invest in infrastructure like land and technology for secondary and higher education.

Candidates also discussed issues such as the military draft and environmental policies.

Doug Applegate, a candidate in California’s 49th Congressional District race in San Diego, said he thinks the government should consider individuals’ college debts in the event that it calls a draft. He said he thinks individuals who are drafted into the military will have a hard time finding lucrative employment and paying off their debts.

Applegate added he thinks Congress needs to fund more programs to clean up sewage and toxic waste. Waste was recently found dumped on Newport Beach and other beaches, he said.

Hill said she thinks Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement last year was a mistake. One hundred and ninety-five countries signed the 2016 agreement to address pollution and other climate change issues.

She added she thinks millennials can help shape future environmental policies because they are are starting to vote more.

“The youth are fired up because they know that they might not have a planet to save,” Hill said.

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Anirudh Keni
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