This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with my home district’s Congresswoman, Lois Capps, in my first ever encounter with a federal politician. I was prepared to be rushed in and out of her office just to shake her hand and get a quick picture taken, knowing the endless demand and limited supply of time that members of Congress face. Even if I could speak with her I assumed, since she made it to Congress, that she would meet every question with a calculated political response devoid of real substance to successfully eliminate any chance of deterring my future vote. I still cannot speak for the rest of our leaders on Capitol Hill, but Congresswoman Capps was an incredible surprise. Voted the nicest person in Congress, she distanced herself from the stereotypical conception of a ‘politician’ as she instead came across as a gentile, confident, and relatable woman.
I had arranged the meeting after finding myself lucky enough to have won the Capps Intern Scholarship—an award and grant provided each year to a UC Santa Barbara student interning in DC. Supporting UCSB students comes from a connection between the Congresswoman and the University that is stronger than a typical constituent base. The former nurse came to represent the district through a special election when her husband, Walter H. Capps, a thirty year Professor of Religious Studies at UCSB, suddenly and tragically passed away nine months after his entry to the House of Representatives. Having received a Masters Degree in Education at UCSB herself, and representing Santa Barbara County for an impressive 15 years and counting, the connection to the community of students has never faltered. Also, it certainly does not hurt that after her intense grassroots movement to register voters, UCSB became a college known for