By Elizabeth Lee ‘16Staff Writer
About forty-five years ago, Hannah Beth Jackson walked through Scripps College’s iconic Honnold Gate to begin her new life and journey as a Scripps woman. She was a first-year college student trying to figure out what to do with her life, studying for midterms, walking past the Denison Library, perhaps preparing for upcoming Halloween festivities—and still to fully realize her potential to affect the world beyond Scripps’ boundaries.
Today she is Hannah Beth Jackson, former State Assembly member of California’s 35th District, co-founder of two non-profit organizations, policymaker in residence at University of California Santa Barbara, adjunct professor at Antioch University, and now California State Senate candidate of District 19. Jackson is an example of the ambitious and spirited Scripps women who have the innate power to shape our society’s future by tackling endless domestic issues on our endless road of possibilities and interests.
After earning a joint degree in government and sociology, Jackson went on to earn her law degree from Boston University. She became the district attorney for Santa Barbara before going on to start a family law practice where she could take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault. During her six years as a State Assembly member (1998-2004) she served as Chair of the Natural Resources, Coastal Protection, Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials, Budget, Judiciary, and Higher Education Committees, as well as of the bipartisan Legislative Women’s caucus. She has written many impressive bills that have been signed into law. Jackson’s two non-profit organizations are Renew California and Speak Out California, which work to promote open and respectful communication between California citizens as well as provide voters with the information and insights of progressive activists.
Now, as a State Senate candidate, Jackson stated that the three main priorities she wishes to address are: jobs and the economy, public education, and environmental protection, three issues she sees as interrelated. By encouraging investment in new, green, and local businesses she hopes to not only promote environmental protection and alternative energy research but also job growth and money circulation within California. In order to encourage these local businesses, she also considers strengthening public education, thereby also promoting an educated workforce, another priority and a process that should heavily engage those who are most involved--the teachers.
Hannah Beth Jackson’s career and future plans seem to reflect the familiar optimism and motivation of her fellow Scripps women. Whether or not Scripps’s up-and-coming women decide to support or agree with Jackson’s political ideas, they can nonetheless recognize her as an indicator of their own potential.