Congressman Rohrabacher visited the campus last Wednesday to talk to the College Republicans at UCI. The Congressman is the current U.S. Representative for California’s 46th congressional district, an area surrounding Irvine (Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Seal Beach, Avalon, Rancho Palos Verdes Estates, Rolling Hills, Palos Verdes Estates, and Rolling Hills Estates, portions of Long Beach, Westminster, Santa Ana and San Pedro).
Bringing his eight year-old triplets along, he recounted his past adventures, shared his experiences in the political world and answered questions from the student panel during the College Republicans meeting held at UCI last Wednesday.
Congressman Rohrabacher’s political career began when he was a teenager when he joined Youth for Reagan in the mid-1960s.
With a nostalgic smile on his face, he told UCI students of former President Reagan’s win during the gubernatorial primaries and the time he adventurously walked up to Reagan’s home to discuss the Youth for Reagan program.
“We hiked up to his house at two o’ clock (in the morning) and I camped out at his back lawn. I had a sign that read ‘Ronald Reagan, please speak to me’ and we said ‘we are from Youth for Reagan, we just need two minutes.’” His effort paid off. He not only got his two minutes of Reagan’s time, but much more, a lifelong friendship with the soon-to-be President. Rohrabacher went on to serve as Reagan’s assistant press secretary, the senior speechwriter and contributor to the formulation of the Reagan Doctrine and Reagan’s Economic Bill of Rights.
“If you are active, people will actively seek you out,” Rohrabacher said to students. “Be active in your environment. Figure out what you believe and go out and get involved.” After much experience, Rohrabacher eventually left the Reagan administration to pursue his own shot at the open House seat in 1988. By winning a representative seat in the 42nd district, then to 45th district and 46th district today, he has served the state of California since 1989.
Opportunities to become involved in the community are even more accessible today, said the Congressman.
“Your ability to actually innovate something new is dramatically better than what it was and it still is increasing,” he said. Congressman then moved on to talk more about his political career and regrets. When asked about the worst decision he has made as a member of Congress, he replied that he regretted supporting President Bush in sending troops to Iraq.
“I assumed he knew what he was doing and he didn’t,” he said. Wrapping up the meeting, Rohrabacher emphasized the importance of youth involvement in the upcoming election and left the meeting encouraging every student to vote. He mentioned various events such as the Young American Foundation conferences that students can attend in Southern California.
The meeting ended with enthusiasm among the College Republicans members.
“I learned a lot about the future in politics and how to get involved,” Jessica Frey, a 5th-year political science student, said.
“I can tell he is a genuine and sincere person. I feel that he really connects with his constituents,” Alex Williams, a 4th year business economics major, said.
To highlight the election month of November, the College Republicans at UCI hope to promote more political awareness among its student body by bringing more speakers like Congressman Rohrabacher.