A week after Bernie Sanders brought thousands out to SBCC, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton held a much more private affair at Jill’s Place downtown.
Announcing her as “absolutely the most qualified candidate,” Congressmember Lois Capps hosted the roundtable-style conversation in the crowded restaurant. “It’s a signal to the world about the role women can play.” A small guest list of about 40 came out to watch Secretary Clinton’s sit-down with a handful of Santa Barbara’s most influential women in everything from business to politics.
Mayor Helene Schneider and her congressional opponent County Supervisor Salud Carbajal both made appearances, as well as District Attorney Joyce Dudley, City Councilmember Cathy Murillo, County Supervisor Janet Wolf, and Lynda Weinman of lynda.com fame. The event, which the campaign called “a conversation on women and families,” focused on the former Secretary of State’s plans for education and healthcare reform.
Planned Parenthood’s President and CEO of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties Jenna Tosh received the most impassioned response of the day from the presidential hopeful. When Tosh brought up the nationwide efforts to cut Planned Parenthood’s funding, Clinton called it “the most mean-spirited, wrong-headed campaign,” going so far as to call it cruel. “It’s cutting women and some men off of the only affordable care they can get.”
Clinton highlighted the fact that abortion rates have gone down steadily, and argued that removing access to places like Planned Parenthood has brought new waves of “back-alley abortions.” She lamented to the group, “We have evidence. We ought to apply it.”
The event didn’t lack excitement, with protesters across the street beating drums and chanting, “black lives matter,” throughout the talk.
Monique Limón, a Santa Barbara Unified School District boardmember who is currently running for Das Williams’ seat in the 37th Assembly District, brought the focus to our education system. “What can we do when the cost of education is rising?” she asked the Secretary after reminding the group that many are “couchsurfing through college.”
The first in her family to graduate from college, Limón talked about how important aid programs were in getting her to where she is, saying, “public investment yields public good.”
Just a few days away from the California primary, Clinton has been making a big campaign push as recent polls show Sanders closing the gap. After arriving from her rally in Oxnard, the former First Lady had only a few hours before being expected in Fresno for another campaign stop.
Local organizers for the campaign were invited as well. E.J. Borah, a force in the community, as well as Debbie Rogow and Kristen Santiago, led a group of about 20 holding signs and bringing Hillary’s message to street corners throughout the week. “She really represents women’s rights, so we felt like we had to come out.”
With a 268 lead in pledged delegates, California’s 475 up for grabs are huge for both camps. A big Clinton win would effectively be the final nail in the coffin for Sanders.
Find your local polling place here. Registration is closed for the upcoming primary.