After his Town Hall meeting at the U of R, Congressman Pete Aguilar sat down with the Redlands Bulldog to reflect on his experience at the U of R and as a Congressman.
So can Aguilar still recite the Och Tamale?
“I totally can. But I prefer to do it in a group, but I absolutely know how to recite the Och Tamale.”
On his greatest memories at the U of R, Aguilar recalled, “ I think the bookends that come to mind are like first day on campus moving into East Hall, having a group of men and women who I still communicate with who were a part of that East Hall crew.” Aguilar said. “Then the end, the senior class activities and graduating, enjoying that with my family and friends is always going to be special. I was an RA in Melrose in between and I played on the golf team. I was a huge basketball fan, I lived with basketball players so there is so many stories and memories. What I love about the university environment is that when I see those individuals I went to school with we all fall back into those same stories, it’s like you never left, it’s a lot of fun.”
Aguilar reminisced spending time on campus barbequing at the Grove apartments and the ability to build relationships with his fellow classmates. The U of R shaped Aguilar in many ways, helping spark his interest in politics.
“I think in a very big way. I came in as a business major who only really fell in love with government because I was taking these government classes. It was part of the college and sciences liberal arts education requirements were to take all these different courses,” Aguilar said. “I only really started loving government when professors here said, ‘Look, you need to either double major or stop taking my classes,’ so I double majored because I really enjoyed the content and the people, and the ability to try and make your argument was what I think really appealed to me.”
Aguilar achieved an early starting career in politics; he already has city council member, mayor, and congressman on his resume before even turning the age of 40. For fellow bulldogs interested in Public Service, Aguilar gave the following advice.
“Be involved in your community. Be involved by volunteering or being active in nonprofits and organizations. Get to know people and broaden your network.” Aguilar said. “Those are the things that will pay dividends by making the community a better place, and also showing people that you are interested in a leadership role in a community”
Aguilar is also an advocate for the fundamental integration of community service learning in education at the University of Redlands.
“I think that is the benefit of what the university offers, which is kind of that entry point by doing your community service learning. You can do it here in Redlands or at home in the summer. But by being involved in the community and your surroundings there is not better start to a life in public service.” Aguilar said.
Congressman Aguilar represents the 31st District of California, previously serving as a City Council Member and Mayor of Redlands. Throughout his political career Congressman Aguilar has maintained bipartisan support. His most recent bipartisan efforts being a DACA border security solution which was co sponsored by Representatives Will Hurd (TX-23) and Jeff Dunham (CA-10).
Although he admits that the current administration does not make it any easier to work in a bipartisan way, Congressman Aguilar and his team want to make sure everyone has the ability to give their input.
“That doesn’t mean that I work for or with just one political party or another, it means my job is to work with everyone. There are some decisions that I make that might upset different members of the community but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be heard and so we do our best to make sure that people have an outlet to reach out to us so we can benefit from their opinion.” Aguilar said.
He added, “Our job is to try to find a solution that is a public policy solution to some of these problems that face our community and our country. Sometimes these aren’t blue problems or red problems, and so making sure it’s something that has strong support from both sides of the aisle are important to me.”
Photo contributed by the Redlands Bulldog photographer Natalie Carlson.