Gubernatorial candidate Cindy Sheehan shares her message with SDSU

Photo by Jordan Owen, senior staff photographer


Photo by Jordan Owen, senior staff photographer

by J.D. Hodges

Cindy Sheehan, a member of the Peace and Freedom Party, visited San Diego State on Wednesday afternoon for a rally to gain support for her run for governor in this summer’s election.

Sheehan first gained national prominence in 2005 when she camped out near former President Bush’s ranch in Texas, demanding a meeting with him after her son was killed in Iraq.

In 2008, Sheehan challenged Nancy Pelosi for her seat in Congress. When Peace and Freedom Party candidate Rosanne Barr ran for president in 2012, Sheehan ran as her vice president.

SDSU political science professor Ronnee Schreiber said Sheehan’s campaign hasn’t received much media attention.

“Part of the reason is that the polling for Jerry Brown is pretty solid,” Schreiber said.  “I think it’s really hard to run against an incumbent who is relatively popular as a third party candidate in any election.”

Schreiber cautioned not to dismiss Sheehan, however.

[quote]“I’m sure people are looking at her and thinking, ‘Oh, she’s not going to win,’ but the important thing is to not only focus on that,”  Schreiber said.
“If she can get herself out there the issues she is articulating are interesting. One of the good things about a third party candidate is that they are getting other issues and ideas out in the campaign and I think that is a valuable contribution.”[/quote]

During Sheehan’s visit, The Daily Aztec asked her some questions about what California would be like with her as a governor and how it would impact SDSU students.

The Daily Aztec: What motivated you to run for governor?

Cindy Sheehan: “This will be my third time I have run for Congress.  I ran in ’08 and we did very well, and I ran last year for VP.  I am a member of the Peace and Freedom Party here in California and we are trying to stay on as a recognized party in the state of California since Prop 14 passed, so we have to build the notoriety of the party.  A combination of having a platform for speaking about the issues we care about and trying to raise the profile of the Peace and Freedom Party.  I’m also very opposed to the things Jerry Brown is doing in his first term of his second time of being a governor.”

The Daily Aztec: What would a California with you as governor be like?

Sheehan: “I was born and raised in California, I went to school in the ’60s and graduated from high school in 1975.  Education was wonderful – it was fully funded; we didn’t have to pay for anything; we had all the programs that have been taken away from us now.  We had drama and art and sports and music.  We would put an emphasis on education. We would take money away from the prison industrial complex. We would put another emphasis on clean renewable, sustainable forms of energy. Taking away money and power from the oil companies and putting more funding into clean green jobs.  It’s more about an equalization of income and resources.”

The Daily Aztec: What is the No. 1 priority that you would work toward if you are elected governor of California?

Sheehan: “My top three priorities as a citizen of the state, as a citizen of the world and as a mother and grandmother: peace, education and the environment.”

The Daily Aztec: Why did you pick SDSU as a college to visit?

Sheehan: “We found that this was a very accommodating school for something like this and for freedom of speech. A lot of times in my career since my son died, we have found a lot of schools closing up to free speech, so I was very pleased with how open the college has been.

The Daily Aztec: How would students at SDSU be affected by you becoming governor?

Sheehan: “Their fees would be cut dramatically. We would increase the classes and lower class sizes. I know when I was going to UCLA in the ’80s it was already hard to get out of community colleges then because they were already reducing the number of classes then. We need to also have an emphasis on job training programs, so we need more apprenticeship programs and to get people involved in good honest work that helps the environment, that helps the community, and is not involved in the military industrial complex.”

The Daily Aztec: What is the first thing you would change about the education system in California?

Sheehan: “We would look at reducing the prison population and taking the billions of dollars that get sucked into that system and using it to lower fees and increase classes offered.  California is 48th to 49th in education standards. When I was in school we were near the top. I think that an educated population is an engaged population.”

The Daily Aztec: What other ways, besides the prison reforms, would you divert more money toward education?

Sheehan: “I think that a lot of corporations pay little or no taxes. When I was in school and education was wonderful they payed 35 percent; now they pay practically nothing.  As a way to redistribute the wealth and resources, we have to increase taxes on the corporations and the wealthy. We have to stop giving subsidies oil and we have to stop fracking. Fracking isn’t just an economic thing, it’s an environmental thing; it uses millions of gallons of water. I think the use of our natural resources has to be restructured to benefit everybody in the state and not just a few.”

Photo by Jordan Owen, senior staff photographer