Sunday, March 29

California 2018 primary election: Kevin de León for US senator

(Ryan Leou/Daily Bruin senior staff)

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It’s time for a fresh face to represent California in the U.S. Senate, and Kevin de León fits the bill.

De León, an incumbent state senator, has presented a progressive vision that is must needed in the Senate. For example, he’s signaled he would be a more anti-military intervention figure and that he supports a reorientation of U.S. budget priorities toward domestic needs as opposed to military campaigns.

Moreover, de León has publically supported universal health care and said he would like to see Medicare be incrementally expanded to cover all Americans, not just the elderly. He also has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve when it comes to climate change policy. And while the federal government controls relatively little when it comes to education, de León has expressed support for more investment in higher education.

And de León’s record shows that he’ll stand by these positions. As a state senator, he’s been a strong proponent of workers’ rights and has led the fight against climate change by introducing bills in the Legislature.

There’s no looking past the fact that Dianne Feinstein, the incumbent senator and front-runner in this race, has served in the Senate for 26 years. Her experience of its inner workings makes her capable of serving another six years. However, her reactive approach to policy undercuts this experience. For example, she initially intended to vote last December on a spending bill that did not contain a fix – let alone a path to legalization – for undocumented individuals brought to the U.S. as children. Only after protests at her offices did she change her position and vote against the bill.

Feinstein has also been hawkish on military policy, declaring last year that she supported “a robust U.S. role in ending the Syrian civil war” following President Donald Trump’s missile strikes on Syria.

Sure, working in the Senate means compromising with those on the other side of the aisle. But that doesn’t mean mirroring those senators’ policy positions. De León, who has displayed a clear commitment to the values he stands for, seems less likely to tactically shift his political ideologies when it’s expedient to do so.

In the end, the race between Feinstein and de León boils down to a contest between experience and new ideas. And right now, California – and this nation – need new ideas, not outdated mindsets.

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