Southwestern College Hosts 40th District State Senate Candidates’ Forum

Southwestern College Hosts 40th District State Senate Candidates’ Forum

CHULA VISTA – Three of the four candidates running to replace Congressman’s Juan Vargas’ California Senate seat made their way to Southwestern College Friday. Each candidate made one final push for their election to the campus community days before the special election on Tuesday, March 12.

Hector Raul Gastelum (R), Anna Nevenic (D), and Ben Hueso (D) discussed education, the economy and touched upon social issues. While all four candidates confirmed their attendance, Xanthi Gionis (R) did not attend.

Hueso, current assemblyman for California’s 80th district, spoke about the correlation between education and the economy.

“We need to focus on stabilizing our tax revenue, we have to close tax loopholes,” said Hueso. “This way we can earmark more money to education.”

Gastelum, a local businessman, is opposed to raising taxes for education and instead looks to reevaluate the current system to help fund adult education and special education.

Gastelum said it’s time for the state of California to implement more online education, which is significantly cheaper.

“We have to be more efficient,” said Gastelum.

Nevenic, an author and nurse, wants a re-examined legislative system to better address educational needs.

“We need to provide quality education,” said Nevenic. “Money alone is not going to do this. We need collaboration.”

When asked by Superintendent/President Dr. Melinda Nish about supporting the City of Chula Vista’s vision for a four-year university in the eastern part of the city, all candidates unanimously agreed that higher education must be expanded and supported.