This is the ninth in a series of profiles on candidates running to represent the 24th Congressional District. The district contains all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, along with a sliver of Ventura County.
Congressional candidate John Uebersax is tired of perpetual war and says a vote for him is one for peace.
“I want to remind people that we can do something to stop war and by running explicitly as a peace candidate, I will give people a chance to vote for me in a way that will be seen as a vote for peace,” he said.
Fifteen years of war has certainly taken its toll on the district, Uebersax said.
“Our economy is hurting big time. We’re losing jobs, there’s no security and it’s all the direct result of 15 years of war.”
And no one ever wins wars, he said.
“If your country is at war, your politicians should wake up every day saying, ‘What can we do to stop a war,’ because we’re bleeding to death,” Uebersax said. “We’re just throwing money away.”
Opposing war doesn’t mean he’s a coward, he said, adding that he’s standing up for what he believes in.
“I’m not against the United States and I’m not a coward or chicken,” Uebersax said. “I think it takes guts to stand up to the government and say our government is out of control. It oppresses us. It oppresses people around the world even more.”
And people across the district are feeling the impacts, he said.
“War is sapping the lifeblood,” he said. “I walk around Morro Bay and I see (it) every day. It seems like people are more and more unhappy and I see the same thing in the five cities and even in San Luis Obispo.”
So change is certainly needed, he said.
“We have to rein in the military industrial complex and the belligerent war making of our government,” Uebersax said.
On immigration, Uebersax said he supported amnesty for undocumented workers because of a similar ordeal he experienced in Europe.
“I was an undocumented worker in Europe,” he said. “I spent two years in Belgium trying to get my papers sorted out.”
While in Belgium, he said people tried to exploit him by taking money out of his paycheck.
“I was taken advantage of and I’m sure this is happening with the Latino immigrants too,” he said.
Uebersax supports student debt reform and a national program to provide affordable housing for young people. He also supports taking an extra look at the health care system.
“The reality is that young people are healthy and they are much less likely to use health insurance that they are required to pay (for). They’re basically paying for the health needs of older Americans and there’s a lot more older Americans than younger Americans.”
For now, Uebersax is not accepting campaign contributions, he said.
“If I win the primary, or advance as one of the top two, then we’ll talk about accepting contributions,” Uebersax said. “But there’s too (much) money in politics and I’m trying to walk the walk not just talk the talk. If I had contributions, I’d be wasting it and I’d be doing unethical things.”
He also thought it would be disrespectful to run television ads.
“We should not choose our candidates based on emotions and hot-button issues,” he said. “We should have appeals to reason and we should supply information. Television ads do not do that.”
But his message does, and even if it doesn’t mean he wins the election, Uebersax still considers his message a winning one, since a vote for him is one for peace.
“That’s extremely important to me, because I don’t have to win the election to accomplish something,” he said.