Delaine Eastin, a Democratic candidate for governor of California, spoke about tuition-free education at UC Berkeley on Thursday.
Eastin is the first and only woman to be elected as the state superintendent of public instruction, and she is also a graduate of UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara. She was hosted on campus by the Cal Berkeley Democrats. In her presentation, Eastin noted tuition-free education as one of the key issues in her campaign. She added that she is also advocating for affordable healthcare and housing and clean air and water, as well as a living wage.
According to Eastin, 18 percent of the state budget was previously spent on higher education and 3 percent was spent on prisons, but now the numbers are 12 and 9 percent, respectively. Eastin said these numbers don’t represent her values, nor do they represent the values of most people she knows.
The event began about 7 p.m. and took place in Wheeler Hall. Cal Dems President Caiden Nason introduced Eastin before she began her presentation. Eastin spoke for about 25 minutes before opening up the floor for questions to a crowd of about 50 people.
“I thought tonight was very pointed,” Nason said. “It was not beating around the bush at all. I thought she did a really great job, and I’m happy how it went overall.”
Eastin said she has great faith in students. She added that it was her college years that got her involved in politics. She said she believes that UC Berkeley is one of the finest campuses in the world and if students do well here, it will “pay huge dividends.”
“I wanted to come tonight and say I’m with you — not only as students, but as future leaders of our state and society,” Eastin said.
Cal Dems wanted to host all of the gubernatorial candidates on campus before the club endorses anyone, but when the club reached out, none responded except for Eastin, according to Nason.
Nason said he believes that left-wing politicians are not talking to young people and are taking advantage of young voters. Nason said he thinks young left-wing people could benefit from having speakers come in.
“It makes us feel like we’re not totally just taken advantage of for our votes, and I think that Delaine is the personification of that,” Nason said. “She’s really engaged with younger people. … I think it’s super beneficial.”
Dominick Williams, vice president of finance for Cal Dems, said he also thought the event went well. He added that this event is not a formal endorsement of Eastin’s campaign, but he thought a lot of Cal Dems members would agree that “she would be a great candidate if she won.”
Williams said the club is searching to find its identity and trying to solidify who it is as a charter community of politically active students. He added that he believes Eastin encompasses a lot of the values that Cal Dems members hold.
“As she said in her presentation, she ran for (office) 14 times and has won 14 times,” Williams said. “It takes a lot of grit, she showed that, and I think that gives a lot of excitement to her membership because now they see that (left-wing politicians) are interested in (the) student perspective.”