Katie Hill, a Democratic congressional candidate for CA-25, visited College of the Canyons for a student-led political forum.
The debate panel was comprised of Hill, professors David Andrus and Katie Coleman, Dr. Edel Alonso of the COC Board of Trustees, head of COC Civil Engagement Dr. Patricia Robinson, and SCV high school teacher DJ Hamburger.
Together, the panel debated the merits of everything from student loan relief to universal health care.
The panel began with a moment of silence for those lost in the recent shooting in Las Vegas, but the conversation steered clear of gun control despite the politically charged nature of the rest of the discussion.
The evening was dominated by speakers who identified left of center politically, with Hamburger as the sole conservative point of view on the panel and Robinson admitting more of a centrist stance.
When discussing the Affordable Health Care Act, most agreed that, although it is flawed, it could be improved through the implementation of a universalized health care system, but Hamburger disagreed.
“[California] sees Obamacare as working,” Hamburger said. “Unfortunately, there are very few states that can support a system like that.”
Even though Hamburger had a unique point of view on many of the topics discussed by the panel, the conversation remained civil, marked occasionally with questions from students.
One student asked whether European systems of universal health care could even be a sustainable system if implemented in America.
This was the only time the panel’s opinion was split, with a wide variety of answers being given.
From a suggestion to implement a system similar to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ suggested healthcare reform, to Hill’s proposal that Obamacare needs a complete overhaul, there was no clear consensus on the answer.
Hamburger was more direct in his criticism of the GOP’s present approach to the matter.
“You don’t campaign for seven years on something and not do it,” Hamburger said. “Repeal and replace.”
Despite the panel steering away from gun control, Hill had much to say on the matter as the daughter of a policeman in an interview held after the panel.
“We need an across the board national rule that people that are regular civilians don’t need weapons of war,” Hill stated. “They don’t need silencers, they don’t need high capacity magazines. I’m saying this as a gun owner, someone who spent my life around guns, and somebody who is the daughter of a police officer.”