October 04, 2018

SB Independent Endorses Carbajal for Congress

Maybe the race for the 24th Congressional District is as simple as this: a smile versus a sneer. Congressmember Salud Carbajal’s default facial expression is a smile, while that of his challenger, Justin Fareed, seems to be somewhere between a sneer and a snarl.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. Carbajal is an accomplished and professional politician, a nondoctrinaire moderate-liberal, pro-choice, environment-minded Democrat with nearly 30 years of government service under his belt. He was elected three times as county supervisor and is now wrapping up his first term in Congress. People talk derisively about career politicians and often for good reason??—??but that does not apply in this race. We think sending an unschooled amateur like Fareed to Washington makes about as much sense as hiring an unschooled plumber to fix your toilet. Some jobs demand skill and experience. This is one of them.

In the wake of the Thomas Fire and the January 9 debris flow, we witnessed Carbajal leap into action. No, he did not personally yank people out of the muck??—??as some candidates claim to have done. Instead, he picked up the phone and did what a congressional representative is supposed to do??—??he got help. Carbajal pushed every button available to him to secure all the money and aid Washington, D.C., could muster for Santa Barbara in its hour of need. We saw this with our own eyes, and, likewise, we have seen the fruit those efforts bore. Carbajal may not give the most rousing speeches we’ve ever heard, but few elected officials we’ve seen in 30 years have worked harder on behalf of their constituents.

By contrast, Fareed remains for us a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. This is now his third campaign for Congress, and we still don’t know who Fareed is, what he’s ever done, or even what he believes. Our skepticism about Fareed does not derive merely from his party affiliation. We find the immigrant-bashing fearmongering of his latest advertising commercial both morally odious and politically bankrupt.

When voters leaf through the sample ballots and voter information guides mailed out this week, they will not see a candidate statement for Fareed on the same page as Carbajal’s. This is the first time in this district in recent memory that a Republican congressional candidate has chosen not to submit one. It’s peculiar, but it also makes sense. Fareed has nothing to say.

We do not wish to put Carbajal on any pedestal. But he is a hardworking, smart, experienced congressmember who delivers strong constituent services and has shown that he is willing to work with the other side of the aisle to make government function??—??qualities in very short supply in present-day Washington.

He has been a resolute defender of environmental protections for the Central Coast, particularly against the increasing threats of unregulated drilling. A former U.S. Marine, Carbajal has worked to improve the conditions of veterans as a member of the House Armed Services Committee. He voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act, is a longtime supporter of women’s rights, and served on President Obama’s task force on climate change, which developed ways to protect regional communities from the obvious dangers we are all facing.

The most practical and probably most important skill Salud Carbajal offers is that he knows the district he represents. He has lived here, gone to school here, and raised a family here, and he has served in county government for years. He has an intuitive grasp of the flow chart of the local government agencies, he knows how they work, and, more to the point, he has personal relationships with the people in those agencies. Those attributes are crucial if we are to have strong, effective representation in Congress. For the last two years, that is what we have had with Salud Carbajal, who has served this district well.

We urge a vote for Representative Salud Carbajal.