Millennial open dialogue with. Hon. Anthony Portantino


Millennial Open Dialogue engages with the young generation on key issues. Graphic courtesy of Facebook

On November 29th, seven Webb students attended the Millennial Open Dialogue with Hon. Anthony Portantino at Pitzer College. Hon. Anthony Portantino is a member of the Democrat Party and represents the 25th Senate District which encompasses parts of the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys. As a state senator, Anthony Portantino pushed forward bills that allow students to have late start times to relieve academic stress.

The aim of the Millennial Open Dialogue is to engage with young generations on key issues from climate change to the fiscal policies of California and promote political engagement among a generation increasingly apathetic about policies.

One of the key issues this conversation concerns is the new round of gas taxes in California. As Los Angeles Times reported, California’s excise tax on diesel fuel will increase by 20 cents, from 16 cents per gallon to 36 cents per gallon. The sales tax rate on gasoline will increase from 9% to 13%.

This gas tax increase is controversial because it is regressive, meaning it has disproportionate negative effects on the poor instead of bridging inequalities. Given this, millennials attending this dialogue still acknowledge the importance of gas tax increase because of its positive influence on resolving climate change and limiting the release of toxic gases.

Hon. Anthony Portantino further elaborated that California’s gas tax has a constitutional protection that demands taxes collected go to infrastructure projects, which will prove more beneficial in the long term. Furthermore, he acknowledges that gas taxes will eventually yield a better environment with less gasoline burned.

The controversy over the gas tax in California illustrates a larger, deeper struggle between two mainstream political parties who hold different perspectives on the gas tax increase. Political polarization in our current age is another topic that concerns many millennials like me.

In this dialogue, students from Webb talked about the lack of exposure to political ideals and about concerns of violence against speakers of a particular party on college campuses. Clearly, political polarization easily escalates into political violence that incurs fear among students to freely express their political perspectives, regardless of their political identifications.

As a member of the young generation, we have the responsibilities and power to voice our opinions and encourage our state senators to push forward change legislatively. I hope the change we want will eventually come…….