Legislative recess is a time for elected officials to come back home and reconnect with their constituencies. UCLA is a proud member of the community, and university officials were thrilled to conduct on-campus meetings with three California legislators during a jam-packed two weeks.
A special “thank you” to Assemblymembers Vince Fong, Raul Bocanegra and Dante Acosta, for visiting our campus and learning about so many amazing programs, along with meeting with enthusiastic students and faculty who are ready to start long-lasting partnerships with each of you.
Assemblymember Vince Fong visited on Aug. 7.
He first visited with representatives from the Institute of Transportation Studies. Fong is the Vice Chair of the assembly’s Transportation Committee, and has great interest in a number of topics, including the implementation of the statewide gas tax, and traffic issues in Southern California.
Then, he took a tour of the California nanoSystems Institute, where experts showed off special 3D computer modeling, important “clean rooms” for delicate research, and an incubator space that has housed as many as 20 companies.
It was the former Bruin’s first trip back since becoming an assemblymember, so he was sent home with a special memento of the trip.
Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra, who is also an alumnus, descended on campus on Aug. 14, first speaking with new Luskin School of Public Affairs Dean Gary Segura. They discussed his new role as dean and the development of the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative.
Then, Bocanegra met with the Underground Scholars, which comprises of students who were previously incarcerated, but now are navigating university life.
“The work you are doing is amazing,” Bocanegra said to the students. “I salute you.”
Bocanegra finished his trip by meeting with Professor Bryonn Bain, who came to UCLA in 2014 and has been working with a women’s prison to institute UCLA programs there. “They were hungry to have opportunity and to have UCLA was a gamechanger,” Bain said of the program, which he hopes will pick up more state support and a definitive MOU (memorandum of understanding) to operate for the next five years.
Assemblymember Dante Acosta started his day on Aug. 18 with a special lunch that included student and alumni guests, discussing a number of topics including his legislative goals and the UC’s standing in the legislature.
Acosta lost his son six years ago in Afghanistan and has made veterans issues a major priority. He met with Operation Mend officials, touring the program that works to rehabilitate wounded veterans and re-acclimate them to civilian life.
Hollywood is in Acosta’s family tree, with his father specifically working in the business as a character actor during the golden age of cinema. With that in mind, Dean Dacumus, Director of Student Services at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, showed the assemblymember around the halls.
At the end of the day, Acosta was even able to interact with some younger students, prospective future Bruins who were touring the campus themselves!