Meet the Candidates: CA-24

text by News Director

28 February, 2024

California’s primaries will be held on Tuesday, March 5th, 2024. Ahead of the March 5th primaries, KCSB News interviewed each of the three candidates running to represent California’s 24th Congressional District (which covers Santa Barbara County, most of San Luis Obispo County, and some of Ventura County). The two winners of the primaries will advance to the general election ballot in November. 

Candidates were asked about their stances on the same four topics: housing, the environment, the border crisis, and the War on Gaza. See what each candidate had to say below. Visit to hear the full-length and abridged conversations with the Congressional hopefuls.

Full-length interviews available here:


More information on voting is available here.


CARBAJAL: “So first, to make sure the federal government continues to provide the resources that it has always provided to ensure that we have low income housing tax credits, which recently through the tax plan that I voted for just this last month. It’s gonna improve the low-income housing tax credits percentage available to the state of California by 12.5% and that is the biggest single… impetus for bringing affordable housing in our country. 

Of course, we have Community Block Grant Development Grants (CDBG). We have home funds, Emergency Service Grants (ESG), making sure all those resources continue, but I’m very proud of three pieces of legislation that I have been a part of or have introduced myself. The first one is Home for The Brave Act, which will provide increased vouchers and housing opportunities for our veterans

The second one is the Housing for All Act, which would dramatically increase housing in every way, [like with] Long-Term Housing Tax Credits. It would increase our funding for CDBG. It would increase housing completely across the board for all programs And, of course, the last one is the Dash Act, which I am an original co-sponsor of, and that one actually will even provide first time home buyer assistance for middle class families… 500 billion [dollars] over 10 years. The Dash Act will provide tax credits for renters. And first time home buyers… And of course, these are all bills that are making it over the finish line this Congress, but if not, sometimes it takes a number of years for them to make it over the finish line.

COLE: “When you spend $200 billion on a proxy war in a foreign country like Ukraine, and it’s killed like 600,000 young people and violating a treaty with Russia that NATO is supposed to stay out of Ukraine. And nobody’s talking about that, because in fact, if you do, you get taken off of YouTube. So there’s censorship of just basic facts of that war. 

So instead of doing that, I would say, you know what? That is a waste…If you divide that $200 billion into 52 different congressional districts, you get $450 million, almost $500 million. You could build a house for every homeless family in the district for that money right there. 

But Salud is very proud of spending $200 billion over in Ukraine, and he’s bought like $2 million home in federal dollars to build a little apartment in Guadalupe for illegals…So it’s all about America last, and I am America first. Stop blowing up people around the world and start building housing in our area.”

  • (Ray Briare: “Fact-checking Mr. Cole’s assertion that the U.S. has spent $200 billion on Ukraine. According to the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, in total, Congress has allocated $113 billion in a combination of mostly military, government, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022. President Biden has asked for another $61.4 billion. About half of that money would go to the Pentagon to replenish weaponry it is supplying, and the other half for humanitarian assistance. For now, that proposal is stalled. 
  • Regarding Cole’s figure of 600,000 young people killed in the war, Reuters says a declassified U.S. intelligence report in December assessed that the Ukraine war has cost Russia 315,000 dead and injured troops. Ukraine treats its losses as a state secret, and officials say disclosing the figure could harm its war effort. But a New York Times report in August cited U.S. officials as putting the Ukrainian death toll at close to 70,000.” 
  • On February 25th, 2024, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the war so far. (NYT)

PASQUARELLA: “I would go for House Resolution Bill 1111, which is a bill proposed by Barbara Lee, the representative from Oakland. And what it does is it cuts the military spending in half and uses any funds that we can take from that and invest domestically in peace building initiatives. They say that we could solve the unhoused problem here in our country with $20 billion. So why are we sending $14 billion to Israel when we know we could do that here?

What they really do need is a housing situation where they have their own space, address, and social services. There’s counselors and people to help them get jobs…I definitely feel that if we’re not spending the money on the military that we would have the funds to do projects like this.”


CARBAJAL: “I am a sponsor of the Energy and Carbon Dividend Act, which would place a fee on carbon throughout the United States, incentivizing businesses and corporations who emit or provide significant emissions to move towards more innovative, creative technology, that will reduce emissions… and at the same time, take those fees, those dollars, that are collected and give them back as dividends to all Americans. It’ll be a win-win for everyone. 

I mentioned that last term we passed the Inflation Reduction Act that brought significant investments to incentivize renewable energy offshore wind in the northern part of my district, off of Morro Bay. I’ve been working to bring about more offshore windtechnology, and just continue to work to make sure that we provide the charging stations throughout the state of California, our country, and the Central Coast, to incentivize the purchasing of more electric vehicles so that we have the infrastructure [to] charge them and the whole system works. [Also], allowing everyday homeowners to be able to retrofit their homes to save energy… To address climate change and change the culture from using fossil fuels to transitioning to renewable energy.

COLE: “Now, this is another one where I want to talk to the young people and tell them that CO2 is 0.04% part of our atmosphere. That’s pretty small. And studies have just come out, for instance, that man’s work in the last 200 years has maybe changed that 0.04 by 3%. Whether that’s causing our climate to warm up has not been proven

Young people are telling us that the end is near, the world is ending, and you got to get an electric car. You’re powering that car with gas from Arizona and oil from Saudi Arabia. So if they knew that, would they think differently? Would they go home? That sounds suspicious. That’s what I’m going to be telling young people and trying to point out, historically, we’re just a little blip in time right here, and they should get a longer view.”

  • (Ray Briare: “Fact-checking Mr. Cole. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, CO2 levels have increased by 50% since pre-industrial levels, leading to more frequent and extreme weather events.”)

PASQUARELLA: Cutting the military will be a great start, because it’s one of the major problems. The government knows that if they were more transparent, they would be really shunned by everybody, because of the waste and the toxins that they’re putting in the air and in the ocean, with all of the military equipment, boats, planes, and bombs that they’re using in our environment. 

Climate change is huge. We have to cut fossil fuels. We have to look at alternatives and we have to create wind, solar, and regenerative farming. That’s another thing I really want to get back into is the idea of working with nature, not against it.”


*Please note that Thomas Cole’s answer contains mentions of sexual assault.

CARBAJAL: “The reason we are who we are is because of immigration. I came to this country when I was five years old. I immigrated to this country when the system was a little less broken, now, it’s really broken. So I stand for comprehensive immigration reform, but short of achieving that, which has not been possible because of our colleagues and the other side of the aisle…

You’re having an overwhelming number of people… they want to come to the border and there’s valid cases, and then there’s some cases that are now being exploited.

Everybody acknowledges that there’s two issues. It’s what’s happening at the border now and then, and the need to provide comprehensive immigration reform to address all of those that are here: the DREAMers and individuals that are contributing to our economy and we got to do both, but now the attention is on the border. Certainly, I think it shouldn’t be addressed in the context of negotiating on foreign policy as it relates to whether we provide aid to Ukraine or not — which seems to be the reason we got into a negotiation in the Senate. Nonetheless, a bipartisan deal was achieved initially, and then Republicans, they said we really don’t want to solve this because politically it works in our favor to not solve it. They have now overtly said no, we want to help Trump. We want to be able to still say that it’s Democrats at fault for what’s happening at the border, not us. 

The American people will now clearly see where they stand. So, in terms of immigration, I think that I’m for comprehensive immigration reform, even doing it incrementally. I have been a proponent and sponsor of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, as well as the Dream and Promise Act. 

COLE: “We simply just have to close the thing off. If you look at the border between Egypt and Gaza, that thing is 30 feet high wrapped with barbed wire, and it’s just one continuous wall all along the Egypt-Gaza border. Nobody’s getting into Egypt. We have to do that in the USA

We should at least close off the areas where people are streaming through unhindered, because they’re just mules for the cartel, bringing in big backpacks of fentanyl…Plus, the sex trade that is going on is unbelievable. The cartel will rape everybody coming through. Where are all the feminists worrying about all the young girls getting raped?…

If you flood in 10 million people in a year or two or three, that’s 10 million people taking up housing right there. That’s destroying our available housing. So how can you possibly be worried about housing in America while you’re saying ‘give me an open border?’

PASQUARELLA: “Part of the reason that it’s a problem is that the industry promotes that undocumented workforce, so that it can keep the wages low. And it stops them from being able to unionize in the workforce and such. So I would propose a work program so that they could have a visa to work here. Also many of the farm workers wouldn’t necessarily want to live here, because it’s very expensive, and they’re not working all year either because of the seasonal nature of the work. It would be better because then they could work here and then go home.

Another issue about the migration issue is that I believe that we have to look at the reasons why people are coming and why they’re migrating. For example, there’s seven million Venezuelans who are refugees from their country all over Latin America and Central America. The reason for that is because of our policies towards that country. And we have embargoes and sanctions on them. And it has devastated the economy. And so people have no option but to go and leave their homes.”


CARBAJAL: “…During this conflict after Hamas, which is a listed terrorist organization, proactively went and slaughtered over 1200 innocent, civilian Israelis in an atrocious way, I supported Israel’s right to defend itself, and to go after Hamas and to remove its operational capability. That has been my posture all along. 

Now, of course all loss of life is tragic and Israel has gone about prosecuting this war in a way to accomplish their mission, their goal, which I have been supporting… In the prosecution of the war, way too many lives have been lost and it is something that’s concerning to me. That’s why I pressed for a humanitarian pause and more humanitarian aid to go into Israel. It concerns me greatly. I have been critical of the way Israel has been prosecuting this war and the loss of life that we have seen. 

I don’t want to dwell on a [humanitarian] pause versus ceasefire; the reality is, I want to restore peace and I do want this war to come to an end, but I will tell you that I think there’s a lot of diplomacy going on to achieve a ceasefire and there’s still over a hundred [Israeli] hostages that Hamas [took] so who would reward ceasefire with Hamas until those hostages are released and that’s part of the negotiations that are going on. 

[ZOHA] Okay, so if hostages were returned, you would be for a ceasefire?

[CARBAJAL] I think that’s part of what a negotiation looks like, and absolutely, I think we need to get to a point where that is negotiated.”

COLE: “This is a great 2000 year old problem that’s been happening over there…I would support Israel’s right, certainly, to defend itself. Anything it wants to do to defend itself is not up to America. I know people want to say, oh, make the Congress, make Israel do something, or make Gaza do something. But Congress’s job is not running Israel or Gaza. 

I’m kind of an old school Congressman. If I were to be one, I’d be like the old days where you don’t tell other nations what to do. And that’s part of our American problem – we think we’re going to bomb people we don’t like and supply bombs to people we do like, so they can bomb their neighbors. And one of my big phrases is we’re not going to fund proxy wars. The U.S. will not fund proxy wars… If Israel wants to bomb Gaza, they, you know, they probably should not do that, but are we going to tell them to stop? No. Stop funding war. Stop funding Gaza, because they simply take relief money and put it into missiles and bombs and tunnels.”

PASQUARELLA: “Every day, I’m doing something to make people aware of what’s happening in Gaza and the genocide there. I’m posting. I’m going to meetings. I’m protesting, because it’s all connected. Our country is allowing this to happen with the continual financial and military support to Israel…We need to stop the military industrial complex…I’m seeing polls that say that 75% of Democrats want a ceasefire, and we’re just not listening to them.

Posted in News, Central coast