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US Senator and Congressman Visit California Western

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego)

Two distinguished visitors from Capitol Hill came to California Western this month to deliver important messages.

“Women’s voices matter,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) to a large audience. “It doesn’t matter what the issue is as long as you care about it. Let your emotions show and raise your voice.”

That is the theme of Gillibrand’s empowering new book Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World.

Gillibrand has certainly raised her own voice as an advocate for women in particular and for society as a whole. 

“Passion is what drives you,” she said. “And advocacy is letting that passion drive you to be heard on that issue.”

The senator spent more than an hour answering questions from moderators Johanna Schiavoni and Sarah Boot, both local attorneys and from the audience. One issue she is passionate about is public funding of election campaigns.

“It will make a huge difference,” she said. “Undisclosed funding is distorting our democracy.”

Among the other issues she discussed were work-life balance in the law and politics, protecting victims of sexual assault, and working for gender equality in all sectors of society and the workplace.

“We need workplace policies that support women or we can’t reach our potential in the economy.”

After her appearance, Gillibrand spent an hour signing copies of her book.

“It was exciting to be here with the students to hear directly from them about the issues they’re interested in,” said Gillibrand. “It was a lively conversation and very enlightening.”

The event was presented by Warwick’s Books, Run Women Run, American Constitution Society California Western Student Chapter, California Western School of Law and UCLA Law School alumni.

Representative Scott Peters Passionate About Access to Education

“I want every student to have the same opportunity to go to college as I did,” U.S. Representative Scott Peters (D-San Diego) said to an audience of students and professors at California Western on October 7.

Access to education is an issue on which Peters has taken a leadership role in Congress, sponsoring important legislation to open doors to higher education and make it more affordable.

“Every young person who can be educated should be educated,” Peters said. “The cost of public higher education has gone up 300 percent. That’s a big reach.”

Discussing the Student Loan Refinancing Act he is co-sponsoring, Peters pointed out that “there’s more student loan debt in the economy than credit card debt. Students shouldn’t be paying six to ten percent in interest—they should be paying four percent. That’s reasonable.”

Peters is also the sponsor of the Student Repayment Assistance Act, which would give tax breaks to employer that match an employee’s student loan payment. “I would also extend loan payment grace period on student loans,” Peters said to a room full of applause.

Both lawmakers found receptive and enthusiastic audiences at California Western and brought first-hand insight into the workings of Capitol Hill.