About 40 students and residents met with Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes at San Bernardino Valley College Friday to discuss issues with higher education, the environment, and poverty.
The town hall with Reyes was organized by the Associated Student Government at the community college.
Providing students up-to-date information about state legislation will help them understand how policy has a direct impact on their lives, explained Associated Student Government President Rocio Aguayo
“That’s why we invited [Assemblywoman Reyes] to speak on bills she’s introduced and on bills that will affect us in higher education,” Aguayo said. “The intention is to make that connection for students.”
Reyes has introduced a series of bills that intend to provide support to college students. They plan to implement a more transparent process to help at-risk students (AB 667), introduce a tax incentive to help college students cover their costs (AB 647), include homeless students in student equity plans (AB 1018), and require public universities students with at least two hours of financial literacy instruction (AB 1268).
Students also asked Reyes about her intentions to provide low income communities with more access to renewable technology through the California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program.
If passed, Assembly Bill 523 will require the California Energy Commission to spend about 35 percent of available renewable technology funds in disadvantaged areas.
“In Sacramento it’s very different than it is in Washington D.C.,” Reyes said. “You have the majority of legislators looking for ways to help.”
Assemblywoman Reyes was elected by constituents last November partly because of her promises to improve the environment. She believes solar companies and other environmental businesses should utilize the region’s workforce to improve air quality.
“In our area we are still disadvantaged,” explained Reyes. “We have some of the worst air here. Just don’t give me the research, just don’t give me an idea. Give me a plan and we’ll work to implement it.”
Austin Tannenbaum, an environmental advocacy student at the University of Redlands, was pleased to hear about AB 523.
“I do think she’s addressing issues with the environment,” said Tannenbaum. “Low income communities are stuck with the pollution that cause the health problems that hinder people’s ability to succeed.”
Reyes praised the Associated Student Government for organizing the event.
“It’s important we hold people accountable,” she said. “Y’all are going to hold me accountable too. It doesn’t matter if I’m nice or know you well. That doesn’t count in the end.”