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Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) hosted a “Meet Your Representative” event on April 22 for students to discuss policy with US Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) before the upcoming 2022 election.

Carbajal currently represents the 24th Congressional District of California which includes both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County, as well as a portion of Ventura County. He is currently running for his fourth two-year term in Congress this coming re-election on June 7.

During ASI’s event, Cal Poly students heard the congressman’s policy positions and key initiatives.   

“I take all these experiences and now in Congress that informs what I do, my own values, my own experiences and the priorities that I know are the priorities of the district,” Carbajal said.

Students had the opportunity to ask Carbajal questions about his position on various policies, including student loan debt, the mask mandate, Diablo Canyon, anti-trans legislation, gun laws, drug decriminalization and Medicare.

Carbajal first responded to whether he agreed with the Biden administration’s current approach to the mask mandate by allowing private companies and citizens to delegate whether to enforce a mask mandate in their businesses. 

“I think first and foremost it should be based on the science and the CDC,” Carbajal said.“We have an agency whose job it is to protect our health and to come up with these guidelines. They left it open for the Biden administration to allow for a choice and I think that’s appropriate.”

The congressman was later questioned about his stance on the second amendment after Carbajal revealed that he hadn’t accepted funding from firearms. 

Carbajal responded to the question by sharing that he served in the Marine Corp. He said he believes the public has the right to bear arms but to bear an assault rifle on the streets is dangerous and unnecessary. He also said he advocated for providing background checks to those requesting to bear arms before being handed firearms.  

“The preponderance of common sense gun laws I think will make our community safer, still allowing people to have and fulfill the right to Second Amendment rights,” Carbajal said.

Around the end of the question portion of the event, Carbajal was asked about his stance on decriminalizing all drugs following Oregon’s decision to on April 20, 2021. 

“I’m not at that point yet — I’m for decriminalizing marijuana and making it legal as it is nationally, but I still am not at the point of decriminalizing all drugs,” Carbajal said.

The Congressman touched on the subject of many prisoners who have been incarcerated due to the country’s past stance on weed, and believes that going back and expunging weed related cases that were just about use should be done.   

Due to the redrawing of the district map, San Luis Obispo County residents will be represented by two Congress members instead of one, which will split North County cities such as Paso Robles and Atascadero into District 19, while the rest of the county will stay in District 24. 

ASI has previously hosted “Meet Your Representative” events with Senator John Laird and Mayor Erica Stewart earlier this year.

Owen Lavine contributed reporting to this article.