by Adrianna Gardner
La Verne resident and former student Cynthia Matthews will challenge incumbent Rep. David Dreier to represent the local 26th Congressional District, which includes La Verne, in the November general election.
Matthews, who is a Democrat and supports women’s reproductive rights and gay rights, among other democratic causes has her work cut out for her going up against the 11-term veteran congressman.
While at ULV, “she was a good student and is very passionate in her political perspective,” said Jeffrey Burkhart, chair of the biology department.
Matthews’ greatest challenge, however, will be her lack of campaign funding.
She has invested an estimate of $20,000 in her campaign versus Dreier’s approximately $2 million. This makes Dreier a “formidable” opponent for Matthews, said Dan Merritt, professor of zoology.
A political activist while a student here, Matthews was involved in student government and participated in the biology department’s operations and affairs. Her former professors hail her passion and enthusiasm for social justice.
While financial concerns may be an issue for voters, Matthews reassures her supporters that her support for issues that matter will place her above her opponent. She has made a commitment to spending time with her constituency.
Burkhart remembers the same ambition and passion while working with her as a graduate student in the university’s CAPA program.
“She’s a companion of the underdog,” he said.