Despite short notice and chilly weather, an estimated 250 residents of Santa Barbara County gathered outside the Santa Barbara Museum of Art last Thursday to protest President Bush’s stated intention to send an additional 20,000 troops to bolster American forces in Iraq. Dubbed the Last Straw Rally, the event coincided with similar protests staged by antiwar groups throughout the country.
Congressmember Lois Capps fully embraced the first 100 hours platform set forth by new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and spoke out against the president’s proposed “surge” in U.S. troops in Iraq. Capps argued that sending more soldiers would only increase the risk to more Americans. She also voted in favor of the minimum wage increase from $5.15 an hour to $7.25, stem cell research, and the federal government’s using its bargaining power to leverage lower prices from the pharmaceutical companies on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.