First District Supervisor and Congressional hopeful Salud Carbajal on Friday held a meeting with Los Angeles Congressmember Xavier Becerra, New Mexico Congressmember Ben Ray Luján, and Santa Barbara Latino stakeholders to discuss voter participation among the county’s Hispanic residents.
Present at the closed-door roundtable, held at La Casa de la Raza, were representatives from nonprofits like CAUSE (Central Coast Alliance United for A Sustainable Economy) and The Fund for Santa Barbara. Members of the Central Labor Council, SEIU, and the Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce opined on an array of issues ranging from workers’ rights and the rising minimum wage to immigration reform and affordable higher education.
Democratic State Assembly candidate and Santa Barbara school board member Monique Limón and 4th District supervisorial candidate Eddie Ozeta were also in attendance. “I’m not here to support Salud; I’m here to ask questions,” Ozeta, a Republican and SEIU 721 board president, told The Santa Barbara Independent while filing out of the conference room.
Luján, a staunch supporter of Carbajal’s congressional campaign, characterized the gathering as “hearing from community leaders.” Both Luján and Becerra sit on the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Becerra, who chairs the Democratic Caucus, names voting rights one of his chief issues.
Carbajal said the diverse stakeholder discussion boiled down to one goal: how to translate civic engagement into voter turnout. “I think what you saw here today was just an overall commitment to democracy and voter participation.”
Yesenia DeCasaus, regional coordinator for the UDW Homecare Providers Union (AFSCME Local 3930), said she showed up to advocate for the 3,000 family caregivers on the Central Coast, who under a state program are currently without retirement security.