June 5, 2023

California Baptist University alumna Aja Smith (R-CA) recently announced her campaign against incumbent House of Representatives Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA) to represent District 41 in the House of Representatives.

Smith, who was a technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and is a Republican candidate, said she is running because she believes she can better relate to the issues that are important to Riverside residents.

“I have been where many residents have been. I relate to a lot of their issues because I have been through it myself,” Smith said. “I was raised by a single mother; I know what struggle looks like when it comes to jobs and living pay check to pay check. I know these issues and I want to help.”

During her time at CBU, Smith said it was the university’s commitment to the Bible that impacted her most.

“A lot of the things I heard at CBU were things I never thought about growing up, or had even heard about,” Smith said. “It opened me up to a world of different views and ideas and my relationships with my professors, especially Dr. Robert Jabs, became a huge part of who I am now.”

Smith’s circuit and target audience includes speaking at local churches in the area, including Harvest Christian Fellowship and Magnolia Church.

Current students at CBU said they were pleased an alumna is seeking election to a national platform and are inspired by her choice to run.

Kaitlyn Lee, freshman exercise science major, said she is in favor of better representation of Christian ideals in Congress, especially if they are representing CBU in the process.

“It is cool that a woman who came from CBU is running for office because we come from a Christian school and our values are not always represented in Congress,” Lee said.

Rachel Bolinger, freshman pre-nursing student, said she believes Smith’s run for Congress will benefit the school’s publicity.

“It’s great she comes from CBU and it’s great for the school,” Bolinger said, “but really, I’m glad a woman is running to represent this district.” 

One other candidate, Democrat Grace Williams, is currently running against Smith and Takano in the California primary set to take place March 3, 2020. 

The top two candidates out of the three currently running will advance to the general election in November 2020.

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