Canepa, Mullin headline dual virtual town hall meetings hosted by CSM

College of San Mateo hosted two separate virtual town halls featuring candidates for the California’s 15th Congressional District


Zachary Navarra

David Canepa (Left) and Kevin Mullin (Right) are candidates for California’s open 15th congressional district.

District Supervisor David Canepa and Assemblymember Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin, candidates for California’s open 15th congressional district, were present in two separate virtual town hall meetings hosted by the College of San Mateo over the past week. Canepa’s town hall came first on Thursday, Feb. 10 and Mullin’s on Tuesday, Feb. 15.

“Our hope is that our students and employees have the opportunity to hear from, and directly engage with their local representatives and candidates to stay informed about issues that are important to them,” said Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, President of the College of San Mateo.“A healthy democracy requires energized civic participation and that’s what we encouraging in our community.”

Both Canepa and Mullin received questions from Associated Students of College of San Mateo (ASCSM)’s President Andrea Morales, Vice-President Nicole Hong, and other student senators. The questions to the two candidates ranged from racial and gender inequality to affordable housing to access to education.

During Canepa’s opening remarks he laid out three reasons why he is running for office. The first is his support for Medicare-for-All and the second is his support for free community college for all. Both are predicated based on equality and fair access. The third reason, focusing on a green economy that works for all, was given special emphasis.

“The reason we’re running is to make sure that everyone is at the table, and we are all making decisions collectively for what’s right for all of our communities,” Canepa stated. “This candidacy represents opportunity, optimism and most importantly leaving no one behind.”

Canepa often fell back on his local connections when responding to questions, specifically drawing upon his time at Skyline College to inform his views on higher education.

“We should reward people for their effort and their intellect, not their checkbook,” Canepa stated. “We need to make sure that we provide everyone opportunities.”

The campaign has worked to present Canepa as a progressive outsider, this effort was displayed during the town hall.

“Washington and Sacramento is broken,” Canepa said. “We all know that. The systems are broken.”

Mullin’s town hall presented a different tone, heavily focusing on the assemblymember’s time in Sacramento and the accomplishments he has made over the past eight years. His opening statement highlighted state programs and bills geared towards helping students achieve accessible and affordable higher education.

During the opening statement, Mullin touted his endorsement by retiring incumbent Jackie Speier and stated why he is running.

“This is about building an economy for all — how do we build economic opportunity at all levels,” Mullin stated. “Here in San Mateo County, we deal with income inequality, we see it on display.”

One way Mullin wants to combat inequality is by increasing the number of affordable housing units available to the county. He hopes to push the federal government towards providing tax credits and financial incentives to develop affordable housing units.

“As your congressmember, I will fight day in and day out to restore the federal government’s proper role in terms of the role it should be playing in the production of affordable housing,” Mullin stated.

Beyond supporting affordable housing, Mullin indicated his support for DACA recipients and reproductive rights to showcase his progressive values. He stopped short of giving his full endorsement of Medicare for All, instead favoring a transition to a single-payer via a public option. Mullin would go on to add that healthcare is a human right without a role for-profit.

“At the federal level, we have to move to a Medicare for All structure but with a transition. Not-for-profit healthcare entities or people want to keep that kind of healthcare, there could be some kind of a transition,” Mullin stated. “The ultimate goal is to create a Medicare for All system that overlays over any kind of existing non-for-profit healthcare that exists.”

CSM will be holding future virtual town halls with Emily Beach, Gus Mattammal and Andrew Watters in March. Further details will be announced next week.