Lois Capps
Paul Wellman

Rep. Lois Capps has been a busy bee here in Denver, at her fourth Democratic National Convention. From rallies and press conferences, to media interviews, meetings, speeches, and the nightly convention proceedings at the Pepsi Center, Capps has been all over town since arriving on Sunday.

The congresswoman, who represents California’s 23rd Congressional District, including portions of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties, took the Pepsi Center podium on Wednesday to showcase women members of the U.S. House of Representatives. She also helped with a short presentation on how the Obama administration would address issues facing women in America.

Capps, who is facing opposition this November from San Luis Obispan Matt Kokkonen, also was present Tuesday at a press conference where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders laid out their plans for energy independence from other countries. Together, they called for a comprehensive strategy, including expanding tax credits for wind and solar power-producing companies. “We can’t just drill our way out,” Capps said, echoing oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens in an interview Tuesday on the top floor of the Denver Sheraton.

Asked what she was most looking forward to at this convention, she said the opportunity to come together was most exciting for her. “The Democratic Party is a very big family,” she explained. “Not everybody sings off the same page everyday, but we don’t co-opt people into thinking just one way.” The Democratic National Convention, in addition to the publicized events on primetime television, is also a chance for policy direction to be formed, and for the party to come together. “We really need to change directions,” she said. “So much damage has been done and we have a lot of ground to make up. We just have to have so much intensity to offer an alternative. Getting it right is important.”

Capps remained silent for a long time on who she was going to endorse in the Democratic primary, finally announcing in April that she would support Sen. Barack Obama. Capps has close connections to both Clinton and Obama: the Clintons were ardent supporters of her late husband Walter Capps in his quest for the congressional seat she now holds, while her daughter Laura is married to Bill Burton, the national press secretary for Obama’s campaign.

Because there is no royalty in the United States, she explained, the country invests a lot into its President. “Right now we have the opportunity to create the kind of leadership, so that we come together in a way that your grandkids will look back and say, ‘Look what happened at this moment in time,'” she said.

And the stakes are serious, with climate change threatening to have a serious effect on civilization as a whole, and with the war in Iraq dragging on. Pondering this November’s big race, Capps explained, “A lot is depending on what happens.”


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