Originally published in the Fullerton Student Journal, Vol. 1, Issue 3; 4 Mar 2000
California State Assemblyman Dick Ackerman spoke to students on campus in an open forum April 30.
Ackerman, dressed in business attire, was a stark visual contrast to the easygoing nature of the campus visit. Helping students with the portioning of pizza and sodas, Ackerman began speaking of his history in the political scene.
As a math major at the University of California at Berkeley, Ackerman’s first exposure to politics came when one of his professors skipped his own class to protest the US involvement in Vietnam. Ackerman said that incident piqued his curiosity for the political world. He has been active in politics ever since.
Before becoming a state assemblyman, Ackerman served as the president of the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce. He later became Mayor of Fullerton in 1982.
“I always wanted to run for higher office,” Ackerman said, “but I waited until my kids were older.”
Currently serving his third term in the state assembly, Ackerman will not seek reelection in 2000. “I believe in self-term limits,” Ackerman said. He is placing his bid for the state senate next year and is, so far, unopposed.
“I only had one race unopposed,” Ackerman said. “If you have opponents, you can have debates. It forces you to make people think.”
When asked about Governor Davis’ education reform initiative, Ackerman replied, “I think it’s a dumb idea.”
Ackerman stated that he believes that Davis doesn’t have any new ideas. “He doesn’t like to take any chances,” Ackerman said. “Things that are good for the Democratic agenda aren’t always good for the people at large.”
When prompted further on the subject of education reform initiatives, Ackerman mentioned a bill currently going through the legislature to limit the number of part-time and full-time instructors at the collegiate level.
“You don’t want to micromanage this thing,” Ackerman said, in opposition to the bill. “You’ve got the trustees and the boards to handle this.”