In stark contrast to the increasingly negative tone of the fast approaching election, the Davis College Republicans (DCR) and Davis College Democrats (DCD) held a debate on Wednesday to discuss the pros and cons of their candidates for governor and Proposition 23.
They began by debating Proposition 23, which calls on temporarily suspending the Global Warming Act passed in 2006, known as AB 32.
“Nobody here wants to forsake our environment, we always want to embrace newer technologies that will give us cleaner air and give us better, more futuristic needs of technology,” said Mark Bahl, a senior history major representing the DCR side. “It’s important to understand what, if Prop 23 doesn’t pass, would be the immediate economic impacts.”
Bahl noted that since 2006, changes in the economic climate would make implementing AB 32 a difficult burden on businesses and taxpayers. The unemployment rate was 4.8 percent then and 12.3 percent now.
“From 2007 to 2008, when state employment fell by 1 percent, green jobs continue to grow by 5 percent. This is something that is helping our economy in a downturn – this is the one sector that is increasing in jobs,” said Kelsey McQuaid, a junior political science major representing the DCD side, in response to the DCR argument.
McQuaid noted from a report by the California Employment Development Department that there are 500,000 green energy jobs in California. It didn’t say if it was directly as a result of AB 32, however.
They then shifted focus to the governor’s race.
“How will Meg Whitman’s experience translate into any governmental success when we have seen a state … that has been directed by yet another Republican candidate with no actual governmental experience? How is Meg any different than the Republican leadership that has controlled the governor’s seat for, I believe, 24 of the last 30 years since Jerry Brown has been governor?” said Sam Mahood, a junior political science major representing the DCD side.
“First of all, you’ve got to get past the party labels for a second. Yeah, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Meg Whitman are both Republicans, but you’ve got to look at what Arnold actually did,” said Evan Charmley, a senior political science and history major representing the DCR side. “He signed into law tax increases, AB 32 … So it’s a bit fallacious to assume that because Arnold is Republican, he’s automatically going to put in similar laws to the effect Meg Whitman wants to do.”
Each side touted their candidate’s pledge to get California back on track and their pledges to create more jobs.
While there were no clear winners, the hosts were glad that there was a forum for balanced and honest debate.
“I thought the issues were presented in greater detail than they are in public media, which is what we were aiming for,” said Rajiv Narayan, a junior individual major in critical economics and the executive director of the Roosevelt Institute at UC Davis. “So you’re not seeing conversations here over melancholy music or dramatic effects. You’re listening to students talk about numbers, issues, evidence, policy stuff that matters when you’re at the polls.”
The debate was organized by the Roosevelt Institute, a student-run think tank, and attracted around 30 people – the majority members of either DCR or DCD.
Election day is Tuesday, with the polls opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m.
CECILIO PADILLA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.