Some of Santa Barbara’s most well-known politicians held an event Friday morning, organized by the Latino Caucus of California Counties, encouraging residents of the state to vote “no” on the upcoming 2021 California gubernatorial recall election.
A veritable who’s who of local political power gathered in person at Bohnett Park in Westside Santa Barbara, speaking against the recall and in support of Governor Gavin Newson, warning that his potential replacement could be a “Donald Trump–like” disaster.
“I want to thank the amazing outpouring of local elected support here behind me,” said Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams, who was one of the main organizers of the event. He was joined in the park by Assemblymember Steve Bennett, Congressmember Salud Carbajal, current and former State Senators Monique Limón and Hannah-Beth Jackson, respectively, Mayor Cathy Murillo, City Councilmember Oscar Gutierrez, Santa Barbara Unified School Board member Virginia Alvarez, Supervisor Gregg Hart, and members of the Latinx community.
A statement released by the caucus said local Latino elected officials believe a recall “would roll back progress on key issues for the Latino community,” including issues such as protecting immigrants, expanding health care, addressing housing and homelessness, and “closing the digital divide.”
Congressmember Carbajal described the recall as a “right-wing power grab” to take the governor’s “duly elected” seat, saying Newsom’s history of going against the Trump administration made him a target for conservatives.
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“This recall was started by national right-wing forces aligned with some of our own domestic right-wing individuals in the State of California, because this governor stood up to former President Trump,” Carbajal said. “When he tried to divide us, this governor brought us together.”
Carbajal added that when the Trump administration “minimized” and “belittled” the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, Newsom took “bold action” to protect the health and safety of Californians and matched federal funding when California’s economy was thriving while other states struggled.
On immigration and environmental issues, Carbajal said the governor often opposed Trump’s policies.
“When the [Trump] administration took action to take us out of the Paris Climate Accord and to undermine all our environmental protections that have been put into place over the past decade, this governor stepped up and made sure that California was a beacon of environmental protections and for addressing climate change,” Carbajal said.
Ballots have already arrived in mailboxes, and the special election is set to begin on Tuesday, September 14. The officials in attendance urged residents to remember to vote in the recall election, which is taking place at an earlier date than the conventional November elections.
“We must show up at the polls. I know there’s a tendency to forget how important this is because of so many other things going on in our world,” Carbajal said. “If we don’t show up at the polls, we could likely wake up the day after the election with a right-wing conservative taking us back on all the gains that we’ve made in California.”