UCLA health economists, public policy experts, administrators, and members of the Bruin Republicans student group had the opportunity to have lunch and chat with Assembly Member Tom Lackey (R – Antelope Valley) at the Faculty Center on Tuesday, July 28th, as part of his day-long visit to the campus.
Lackey was peppered with questions from attendees on many topics including high-speed rail, depression, healthcare, Medicaid, and the state’s penal system. While well-informed, Lackey emphasized the complexity of many of the issues he was asked about and said he was in a listening-and-learning stage this past session as a freshman legislator.
Bruin Republican Internal Vice President Shantal Razban-Nia was impressed with the Assembly Member’s honesty.
“Typically, many politicians answer questions in a broad and rehearsed fashion. Instead, the Assemblyman was detailed with his answers and was willing to discuss controversial topics,” Razban-Nia said.
Faculty attendees, including expert on public policy and aging Fernando Torres-Gil from the Luskin School of Public Affairs and health economist Arleen Leibowitz from the Anderson School emphasized that UCLA expertise can be a resource to the Assembly Member on a variety of policy issues.
In a fortuitous coincidence, Lackey’s visit overlapped with UCLA’s hosting of the Special Olympics World Games, something close to Lackey’s heart given he has a degree in Special Education from Utah State University and was a former Special Olympics coach.
After his meetings with faculty, he enjoyed watching competitions including volleyball, rhythmic gymnastics, and the unified soccer experience across campus and handed out awards to the athletes on stage in the Olympic Village in Wilson Plaza.