The College Democrats at UC Irvine and the California Democratic party hosted an event entitled “California’s Voice Rally” featuring former President Bill Clinton in an effort to garner votes for five SoCal politicians running for Congress at the Bren Events Center on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
Thousands of students and supporters packed the arena for a chance to see the former president and participate in a campaign rally.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of students and Democratic Party representatives filled a conference room in the Student Center to volunteer at a phone bank before getting a chance to see the former president.
President Clinton, who took the stage after the five congressional candidates, used his time to promote the democratic candidates on the state and national level while declaring his support in favor of Prop 30 and against Prop 32.
Clinton’s remarks on healthcare, jobs, student federal loans and “arithmetic” were met with applause from students in the crowd as he spoke about a new student loan reform law set to take effect as early as 2013. According to Clinton, the new law would send federal loan money directly to the school for distribution, which would allow for lower interest rates.
A second component of this law would adjust the loan payments after college to the graduated student’s current income.
“Your loan repayments will be fixed around your job, so you don’t have to fix your job around your loan repayments,” said the former president.
Students who were in the crowd and were not aware of this new law or many of the positive pro-Democrat facts Clinton used in his speech were both surprised and intrigued. Second-year anthropology major Chetana Srinivas was one of those students.
“I honestly didn’t know much about it until he mentioned it and explained what it hoped to accomplish,” Srinivas said. “I think it’s great to have such a law because it helps students directly rather than gives money to banks so they can charge interest.”
After capturing the students’ attention on the subject of education, Clinton turned to focusing on each of the candidates starting with Assemblywoman Julia Brownley. Assemblywoman to the 41st Assembly District of California, Brownley is now running to represent California’s 26th District in Congress in an area that covers the greater Ventura county area.
In her speech earlier in the event, Brownley focused on education and women’s rights, claiming that the tea party is trying to set the nation “backwards” on issues of women’s health. Clinton reiterated her concerns while attacking her opponent, State Senator Tony Strickland for supporting Grover Norquist’s tax proposal and lack of support towards funding education.
Clinton turned to endorse another candidate for Congress, Dr. Raul Ruiz of the Coachella Valley who is running for a seat in the House to represent District 36, a predominately desert area. Ruiz, a physician and Associate Dean at the UC Riverside School of Medicine, was the first Latino to have three graduate degrees from Harvard. Clinton asserted that Ruiz’s background in public health and as a practicing physician would be an asset to Congress when dealing with healthcare.
Another proponent of healthcare, State Senator Alan Lowenthal, received Clinton’s endorsement for the race for Congressional District 47. Lowenthal called out to the crowd, claiming that voting for Democrats was best for the people.
“We are the party of diversity! We are the party of the people!” said Lowenthal, “We have to fight for the next generation.”
The state senator is a favorite to win after his work to clean up the ports of Long Beach, which resonated with President Clinton’s view of an environmentally-conscious party.
President Clinton also endorsed Scott Peters, San Diego City Councilman for the 52nd Congressional District and former public school teacher, Mark Takano for Congressional District 41.
Takano, hailing from Riverside County, would be the first LGBT person of color to hold a seat in the House of Representatives if elected.