Laura (left) and Lois Capps

Paul Wellman (file)

Laura (left) and Lois Capps

Laura Capps to Announce School Board Candidacy

Jump-starting the race, political consultant Laura Capps says she plans to announce her candidacy for an open school board seat today.

Capps, the 43-year-old daughter of retiring Rep. Lois Capps, told the Independent she will declare her candidacy during the public comment period of tonight’s board meeting, and also in a two-minute, biographical online video to be posted earlier.

“I’m a Santa Barbara kid,” she said. “As my (four-year-old) son starts kindergarten in the fall, I want to strengthen our schools for his generation and beyond.”

Capps is seeking a seat on the five-member board that will be left open by Ed Heron, who is stepping down. Seats now held by incumbents Gayle Eidelson and Pedro Paz also will be on the ballot; another seat may come open if board member Monique Limon wins election to the Assembly in the fall; however, her term is not up until 2018, so the board would appoint her replacement early next year. The filing deadline is August 12.

Capps returned to Santa Barbara three years ago, after a successful career in Washington, where she served as an aide to the late Senator Ted Kennedy and a speechwriter to President Bill Clinton, among other positions, while also working on several presidential campaigns. She now serves as board president of the Community Environmental Council, the board of Planned Parenthood, and the county’s Commission for Women, to which Supervisor Salud Carbajal, who both she and her mother have endorsed to succeed Rep. Capps, appointed her.

Capps has lined up an impressive roster of supporters, including Jack O’Connell, former state Superintendent of Schools; former Supervisor Susan Rose, who will chair her campaign; and John Houchin, president of the Santa Barbara Teachers Association.

There was widespread speculation that Laura Capps would run for congress after her mother last year announced her planned retirement. After struggling with the decision, Laura Capps said, however, that she wanted to raise her son in her hometown and enter politics on the local level.

“That work-life balance is hard to find,” she said.

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