If a congressperson is supposed to work for the people they represent, Angela Underwood Jacobs has the requisite experience.
The banker and Lancaster City Councilmember might be best known for leading the charge to draft an ordinance known as “Gabriel’s Law.” It’s named for Gabriel Fernandez, who was tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend in 2013 when he was just eight years old. Social workers with the county Department of Children & Family Services faced criminal charges for mishandling evidence of escalating abuse. The mother pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life without parole; the boyfriend was convicted and sentenced to death.
“When Gabriel Fernandez passed away, it was such a senseless death. As a mom, as a parent, it completely broke my heart. The mayor and I were talking, having a conversation about life, and we started to talk about him. I said, ‘We need to find a way to do more to protect children, their families and DCFS as well,” stated Underwood Jacobs.
The Lancaster City Council unanimously adopted the ordinance in 2017. Now, all county social workers must digitally record visits made to Lancaster homes.
“If nothing else, we are sitting at the table talking about what else we can all do better, and that is what this is about — saving lives and figuring out easier ways to get things done,” she said.
Underwood Jacobs hopes to do the same for the 25th congressional district, so she challenged Rep. Katie Hill for the seat, one of four Republicans to do so.
“What I do really well is establish meaningful, working relationships with people with diverse backgrounds, ages, ethnicity and other socioeconomic factors; and yes, even across party lines,” she said. “Together, we are the solution. Individually, we are special, but together, we are spectacular.”
Underwood Jacobs said she grew up Republican with a conservative value system. These values include being fiscally responsible (she would cut unnecessary spending, opposes higher taxes and favors reducing the national debt), earning an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work and placing a high importance on family and education.
She subscribes to some of today’s Republican Party standards as well; for instance, she favors funding the President’s border wall, opposes Medicare For All and favors a minute of silence in school for prayer.
In addition, she also believes in equal pay for equal work regardless of gender, bemoans the lack of civil communication in society and Washington (“We need to be able to hear one another, and we’re not doing a great job of that”) and defers to the courts on abortion while stressing she never would terminate a pregnancy herself.
“Everyone has to stand before God and be judged. That’s not my job,” she said.
Underwood Jacobs furthermore defers to people she considers experts. For example, the Mueller report proved Russia interfered in the 2016 election. “If they say Russia meddled, I have to believe that,” she said, admitting she has not read the 448-page redacted report. “I have to trust the experts are doing their job.”
And she’s not afraid to stand corrected. She criticized Katie Hill (D-Agua Dulce) for voting for the Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination and segregation based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in a wide variety of areas including public education. Underwood Jacobs said this bill, currently in the Senate, would allow boys and girls to compete on the same teams, although the bill says nothing of the sort.
“That’s what I read,” she said. “I don’t want to misspeak. I’m going to triple check. Your questioning gives me pause. I want to make sure I’m right.”
“I know who I am,” she said. “I’m hoping that I’m doing myself justice. I know my heart is in the right place. I know my mind is in the right place.”
To date, Underwood Jacobs’ campaign claims it has the highest percentage of in-district donations out of all candidates in the race for the 25th District. They have raised 130% more than Hill in itemized donations.
Hill campaign manager Kelsey O’Hara disputed the percentage. Citing Federal Election Commission numbers, O’Hara said Underwood Jacobs had 95 itemized donations, compared to Hill’s 872.