While she’s less than a year away from retirement, Congresswoman Lois Capps says she still has a lot she needs to get done before leaving office.
“I intend to work as hard on the last day I’m in office as I did on the first day,” the Santa Barbara Democrat said.
Some of her effort this year will be concentrated on issues she’s been working on for quite some time, including pipeline safety regulation and common-sense gun legislation, she said.
“We had a pipeline accident on the Gaviota coast with a pipeline company and the reauthorization of pipeline safety legislation is due and I want to make sure that lessons learned from that spill can be included,” Capps said.
Some of those lessons include more frequent pipeline inspections.
“It turns out that the technology for pipeline safety has improved but this particular company was lagging,” Capps said. “There are pipelines everywhere. They should all rise to a higher standard and that’s what the bill addresses.”
Capps also noted that gun safety measures were a priority, and especially relevant given the tragedy in Isla Vista, which claimed six lives and injured several others.
“Congress is in such a stalemate on common-sense gun safety,” Capps said. “We’re not where we should be in that area as well.”
Funding education initiatives for nurses was also a priority, she said.
“We want to make sure that there are schools, like Allan Hancock’s program and Cuesta’s program that keep nurses coming along in the pipeline, so to speak,” Capps said.
In other health-related work, Capps expressed hopes for introducing legislation on heart issues for women.
She also touched on a recent accomplishment, which occurred when she was able to get a car rental safety initiative included in the last transportation reauthorization bill.
“It was based on a tragedy that occurred (for) a family on the Central Coast in Ojai,” Capps said. “Two young women were killed when their rental car had been recalled and the agency from which they rented the car wasn’t subject to taking it off of their market, so to speak, and so they were able to correct that.”
One of her signature accomplishments during her tenure, which started in 1998, was the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Capps said.
“We had a broken health care system in the past and people had a hard time getting access to affordable health care,” she said. “Some of those problems remain, but Covered California is actually doing many of the things the bill was designed to do."
Looking ahead, Capps has endorsed 24th Congressional District candidate Salud Carbajal, who currently serves as Santa Barbara County’s 1st District Supervisor.
“The reason I’m endorsing him is that we have similar values and from what I know of Salud, I believe he will carry on with some of the major pieces that I have been working on,” said Capps, who has represented the Central Coast since 1998.
The 24th Congressional District includes all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and a sliver of Ventura County.
Kenny Lindberg covers Santa Barbara County for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter.
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