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California College Republican on students, CRT & generational politics

Christian Lucia Hunter of Dixon, Calif., is the Northern Regional Director for the California College Republicans. After first attending Woodland Community College in Yolo County, Hunter transferred to Sacramento State University, where he is entering his senior year majoring in political science and history. For California College Republicans, Hunter visits schools throughout Northern California to speak with student bodies about conservative ideals and to encourage students to be more politically involved.

Hunter describes himself as “a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican last.” Taking time out of his summer and a busy election year, he shared with Sacto Politico’s Justin Ha his thoughts on the state of U.S., California and generational politics.

SACTO POLITICO: What was your moment of political awakening when you became far more politically involved and a true “politico”?

CHRISTIAN LUCIA HUNTER: After I ran for the Director of Student Affairs at Woodland Community College, it ended up that I didn’t have the credits to continue [in that post] after two months. I wasn’t too sure because I didn’t read the bylaws. The student body president kind of just appointed me. He really liked me. But unfortunately, I had to step down until I got the credits. Then I ended up running for the community college student president [in 2018] because I really didn’t appreciate the administrative office raising tuition and pushing for CRT and all this stuff, and I ended up actually winning. I won in one of the largest landslides in Woodland Community College history. And that was a really special moment for me. It didn’t last very long, because the administrative office didn’t like me too much. So they ended up actually removing me after just two months of service, unfortunately, just because I was conservative, and on the bylaw constitutions, the administrative office can pick and choose and appoint who they want to the student union.

S/P: How was Critical Race Theory (CRT) pushed in the curriculum?

CLH: I think really the main thing is that they’re basically blaming all white people for being bad. They’re pushing it when it comes to the arts curriculum with gender identity, as well. And a lot of the other things that mesh into that, such as them pushing for the drag show that was open to all ages, and saying that it was appropriate for all ages, while these basically drag queens would come into the building, and they would twerk and shake their butts for money as people would make it rain on them. I find these aspects of the curriculum that they’re pushing for, where it’s just identity politics. I wouldn’t even just say CRT. It’s more just identity politics, and the gender politics and pandering for things that are just not really something that students should be paying for out of our tuition. I really don’t see it necessary.

S/P: What is the hardest part about trying to energize college students to become more politically involved?

CLH: I think that one of the hardest things I’ve noticed, especially in California, is that it’s pretty off-putting just having an “R” after your name. But I’ve also noticed, whether it’s Democrats or even Republicans, there’s just not a lot of enthusiasm in the state. I’ve just noticed a lot of kids who are just going through the motions going to school, and they really don’t care [about politics]. They’d rather just do their extracurricular activities. They don’t really want to talk about it, because there’s a lot of negativity. When it comes to talking to a lot of college students, they’re just not interested in talking about politics in the state or at the universities or colleges I’ve went to.

S/P: How do you think national politicians or the Republican Party can better engage and catered to young people?

CLH: The thing that I’ve noticed about Republicans is that they’re too busy pointing fingers. There’s a lot of issues that the left does, but the reality is that there’s too much “Oh, well the left is going to do this; the left is going to do that.” They don’t come out and they don’t inspire hope. The way I view it is it’s kind of like Ronald Reagan. Reagan would come out and he’d give you that inspirational hope. And he would energize you. He gives you that purpose. He gives you that drive to want to push it forward.

I really think if you want to get young people involved we need to have a lot of positivity. We need to give them hope. We need to give them something to want to get excited for, not like “the whole country is going to crap.” We have to give them that idea that right around the corner we can be that “shining city on the hill” again.

S/P: What has been your most exciting political experience or moment of your college years so far?

CLH: I really think just getting elected to the presidency of Woodland Community College. After I transferred and became student body vice president at Sac State, that was pretty exciting too because I got to work with a lot of students. I got to really learn the ins and outs of the college system. That was a pretty big deal because I didn’t realize how political the college administrative offices are, and I actually learned quite a bit about our education system. It has made me actually very passionate to drive for education reform.

S/P: What type of reform do you hope to see in education? What things do you think that California can improve on?

CLH: First, with the community college system, I really think they’re underfunded. And there’s a lot of corruption. And there’s not a lot of accountability when it comes to the administrative office. So I'd like to see more accountability at universities.

There’s also not a lot of transparency for students. We’re paying high amounts of fees, and high amounts of tuition, and we have no idea where all this money’s going. I’ve seen the budgets, and nine times out of 10, they were paying $150 for brand new flat-screen TVs that we didn’t even need. And that’s just what is on the audits. So I would like to see a lot of accountability.

S/P: As someone who talks with a lot of college students, what do you feel is the most pressing issue facing young people in California?

CLH: I think there are at least three. Housing is a big one. Housing is almost unattainable at this point for my generation. For the younger generations to come, the price of housing is going to be insane.

The second thing is that the degrees here have become a lot more devalued. But that ties into the third thing. There’s just not a lot of jobs here. Because they’ve run out, and they’ve taxed all these companies into oblivion. [The companies are] all leaving California, and there’s going to be no jobs. I would just make this state more business friendly. I think the one thing that would help tenfold is to lower the corporate tax rate in the state and lower the environmental regulations, because if we have a lot more jobs, we probably wouldn’t have the misery we have right now.

S/P: How useful has your experience in the California College Republicans been for improving your post-graduation employment opportunities?

CLH: I think that I’m still building my own career right now. So right now, I’m finally getting internship opportunities a lot more upfront. From the experiences I’ve gained, if it hasn’t bettered my opportunities, I have learned quite a bit to apply to any opportunities in the future.

For my future career, I’m looking at law. I want to do constitutional law and criminal law. I really believe that it’s important that you have constitutional law to be the best criminal defense lawyer out there. I’m really into helping people and also fighting a lot of laws and policies that I find unconstitutional or federal overreach. That’s really my focus of what I want to do in my life.

I would love to keep my hand in politics. My major thing is I like to help people. I want to see this country succeed. I’d like to see a lot more fiscal responsibility within the country and a lot less spending when we’re $30 trillion in the hole. I think that if I can make even an inch of difference, I think that that would go a long way.

S/P: Is there anything different you wish you had done or would advise a newer college student to do?

CLH: I went through the community college system, and I would recommend a lot of students go through the community college system just because it’s more affordable. But I would also recommend new students always double-check and triple-check anything your advisors are saying because they’re in it for the money. They put me in a lot of classes I didn’t need, and I was stuck in community college.

S/P: Can you elaborate on why college students shouldn’t trust their advisors to put them on the correct path?

CLH: In all honesty when it comes to the administrative offices and just counselors in general, they really have no skin in the game when it comes to you getting out of community college. Community colleges are dirt poor as it is right now and are probably one of the most underfunded things in California. So in reality, it’s not fair to say that they’re maliciously doing it. It’s not really the most important thing in the world to get you out like a big university that can only accept so many in every year. They’re underfunded. They need the money. Anyone can go to a community college. When it comes to university, you got to get accepted. So they have more of a drive to push you through the university system a lot quicker and to make sure you get your classes and then meet with an advisor and things like that. So you should really double-check what they’re telling you. And you should really go over what classes they’re advising you to take, because nine times out of 10 they don’t properly input what you need.

S/P: What do you think should be the main lesson all Americans take from the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection in D.C?

CLH: I think it is a partisan issue. But I think Jan. 6 is just a greater message of what’s happening within the country. If we look at at Jan. 6 and the “summer of love” as CNN called [the protests after George Floyds death], where there were riots for months on end [resulting in] billions of dollars [in insurance claims], those are just a great symbolic resemblance of what’s happening within the inner turmoil of the country. I’ve never seen tension so high. We’re starting to see more turmoil, and it’s getting to a boiling point where both sides are on the verge of bursting.

[Editor’s note: CNN did not refer to the summer of protests after George Floyd’s death as “the summer of love.” The mayor of Seattle in an interview on CNN made this reference. The mayor later acknowledged it as “a poor choice of words.” Also U.S. prosecutors estimate Jan. 6 damage to the U.S. Capitol at $1.5 billion.]

So I really would like to see less partisanship, and I’d like to see a lot less attacking from both sides and a lot less blaming. Because at the end of the day, both sides are pretty angry, and we’re heading towards something that I’m not too sure is going to be that peaceful.

The reality is that both sides are radicalizing and both sides are getting upset. I can’t blame either side for getting upset at each other. We have a lot of negativity on both sides and a lot of finger pointing. Unless the left can come to a consensus and stop with the party politics and identity politics and things that are irritating and pissing off a lot of the suburban Americans, we’re going to head toward something that’s almost unchangeable. People are unhappy with Joe Biden right now, but if a consensus of Americans comes together, we can obviously vote in the people that we want and get the policies we want.

S/P: Any closing thoughts?

CLH: I would really like to see a lot more young people get more enthusiastic about getting involved in policymaking. Politics isn’t always the sexiest thing for a lot of people. It can be quite boring, and it can be also quite frustrating. But I would like to see a lot more young people get involved because they’re upset. And the only way they’re going to stop being upset is if they get involved and they make the change. It takes every one of us to make the change that we need within this country.

Justin Ha is SactoPolitico’s reporting and editing intern. A high school senior this fall, he is also news editor of his high school newspaper.

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