Candidates reach out to students and the public at an informational forum

Congresswoman+Julia+Brownley+speaks+with+Political+Science+major+Justin+Simons%2C+26%2C+about+her+talking+points+and+the+general+outcome+of+the+forum.+Brownley+is+running+against+business+owner+Rafael+Dagnesses+for+the+House+of+Representative%27s+California+26th+district+seat.+Photo+credit%3A+John+Louie+Menorca
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Candidates reach out to students and the public at an informational forum

Congresswoman Julia Brownley speaks with Political Science major Justin Simons, 26, about her talking points and the general outcome of the forum. Brownley is running against business owner Rafael Dagnesses for the House of Representative's California 26th district seat. Photo credit: John Louie Menorca

Congresswoman Julia Brownley speaks with Political Science major Justin Simons, 26, about her talking points and the general outcome of the forum. Brownley is running against business owner Rafael Dagnesses for the House of Representative's California 26th district seat. Photo credit: John Louie Menorca

Congresswoman Julia Brownley speaks with Political Science major Justin Simons, 26, about her talking points and the general outcome of the forum. Brownley is running against business owner Rafael Dagnesses for the House of Representative's California 26th district seat. Photo credit: John Louie Menorca

Congresswoman Julia Brownley speaks with Political Science major Justin Simons, 26, about her talking points and the general outcome of the forum. Brownley is running against business owner Rafael Dagnesses for the House of Representative's California 26th district seat. Photo credit: John Louie Menorca

By John Louie Menorca

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With the election less than a week away, Moorpark College’s Associated Students hosted a Candidates Forum on Nov. 2 as an attempt to connect students and candidates.

The forum acted as an opportunity for students across the Ventura County Community College district to connect with candidates running for local, state and national offices, said Lawrence Kelley, vice president of Associated Students at Moorpark College and the event’s primary organizer.

“I feel like local policy, local candidates, don’t get nearly as much attention as national, even state, candidates,” said Kelley.

Attending candidates included those running for Moorpark City Council, California state senator of the 27th district and one of California’s seats on the U.S. House of Representatives; positions that can make decisions directly or indirectly impacting the local community.

In all, there were nine candidates. Four for the Moorpark City Council, one for the mayor of Moorpark, two for the California State Senate and two for the House of Representatives.

Justin Simons, a 26-year-old Political Science major, had heard about the event through Facebook and was enthusiastic about the ability to hear the candidates’ platforms.

“You understand how the process works, but also more importantly, getting people to understand what the candidates are about,” said Simons. “A lot of people don’t do the research or take the time to actually investigate what’s going on and [this event] is a great opportunity to learn what some people are about.”

Another student who attended was Emily Marshall, a 19-year-old Sociology major. However, she remains unchanged despite the forum.

“I feel like I was pretty dissatisfied about a lot of what the candidates across the board were saying,” says Marshall. “I wasn’t really impressed with anyone. Most people seemed to talk about themselves. I would’ve like to hear about individual people issues more than just financial and real estate.”

Educator and Environmental Attorny Henry Stern, candidate for California State Senate, answers questions from the audience.

John Louie Menorca
Educator and Environmental Attorny Henry Stern, candidate for California State Senate, answers questions from the audience.

Throughout the two hour period, the candidates addressed the audience and answered questions regarding their backgrounds and platforms.

One candidate, Rafael Dagnesses, Republican, running against incumbent Julia Brownley, Democrat, on California’s 26th district of the U.S. House of Representatives, reached out to the students during his address.

“My message to the students is to remember, despite all the negativity, despite all the problems that we have, they have to know that we live in a special country and to never give up,” said Dagnesses.

Kelley finished the night by recognizing the massive team effort of the Associated Students to put on this event and indicated that the event could be done again.

“We could do this for state senate because state senate and congressional elections are every two years,” said Kelley. “We could do this again for future elections, maybe the future A.S. board here at Moorpark could do that.”

By the end of the night, when the candidates were done and the audience filed out of the auditorium, Kelley thought that the event was successful.

“Honestly, my favorite aspect was seeing all the people coming in and how excited everybody looked,” said Kelley. “Standing outside before event started, seeing the line started and people looked like they were excited and I felt like there was a general sense of excitement, of anticipation and genuine interest.”

Below is a list of the candidates who attended the forum, what position they are running for and what their current occupation is.

Running for the Moorpark City Council:

  • Roseann Mikos – Businesswoman/Councilmember
  • Jeffrey Shoettlin – Screenwriter/Retail Manager
  • Terri A. Doria – Businesswoman/Marketing Executive
  • Ken Simons – Business Executive

Running for Mayor, City of Moorpark

  • Jeffrey Hirth – Businessman

California State Senate, District 27

  • Henry Stern – Educator/Environmental Attorney
  • Steve Fazio – Independent Small Businessman

U.S. House of Representatives, CA District 26

  • Rafael Dagnesses – Business Owner/Entrepreneur
  • Julia Brownley – Ventura County Congresswoman
Steve Fazio, running for California State Senate, District 27, speaks as his opponent, Henry Stern listens, along with House Candidates Rafael Dagnesses and Julia Brownley during Moorpark College's Candidate Forum.

John Louie Menorca
Steve Fazio, running for California State Senate, District 27, speaks as his opponent, Henry Stern listens, along with House Candidates Rafael Dagnesses and Julia Brownley during Moorpark College’s Candidate Forum.

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