Public Service

The Value of Public Service

A conversation about Walter Capps’ political career and the ongoing value of public service


Saturday, Nov. 11

2:45pm - 4:15pm

Campbell Hall



Greg Johnson, Director of the Walter H. Capps Center, UCSB

Henry T. Yang, Chancellor, UCSB



Bob Kerrey, former U.S. Senator and Governor

Lois Capps, former U.S. Representative

Laura Capps, Santa Barbara County Supervisor

Todd Capps

Lou Cannon, journalist, author, biographer


Brief Bios:

Bob Kerrey has decades of public service and health care experience serving vulnerable populations. He served as Governor of Nebraska from 1983 to 1987 and as a United States Senator from Nebraska from 1989 to 2001. He is also a veteran of the Vietnam War, where he served as a U.S. Navy SEAL officer and was awarded the Medal of Honor. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a commitment to supporting other veterans and their access to health care. 

Lois Capps served as a U.S. Representative from 1998-2017 representing Santa Barbara and the Central Coast. Before succeeding her husband in Congress, Lois had successful careers in both nursing and education, with many years spent as a nurse in our local public schools. She is a proud alumna of UCSB, having earned her masters degree in early childhood education, as well as a masters degree in religion from Yale University. For eighteen years, Capps was a respected leader in Congress on issues of public health and protecting our environment. She retired in 2017 and is a happy grandmother of nine.

Laura Capps is the Second District Supervisor for Santa Barbara County. She was a Member of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Trustees from 2016-2022. She has served as a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, the western communications director for Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign, a senior aide to Senator Edward Kennedy, and as UC Berkeley’s Director of Government Affairs. Her career in public service includes serving as President of the Community Environmental Council, Chair of the Commission for Women, and on the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Board and UC Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees. Her greatest job is being a mom to her son Oscar.

Todd Capps is an alumnus of UCSB (BA, Philosophy - Ethics & Public Policy). He lives in Santa Barbara with his wife Rebecca and young son Rowan. As the founding Executive Director of the Common Table Foundation, Todd led a series of events in Santa Barbara County aimed at building community and cultural awareness through authentic dialogue and engagement among people of diverse backgrounds. Todd is a professional musician, songwriter, and composer, having toured internationally and composed scores for critically-acclaimed feature films.

Lou Cannon is a journalist, columnist, author, and biographer. He was a political reporter for the San Jose Mercury News and Washington Post, where he covered politics for 26 years as a senior White House correspondent, Los Angeles bureau chief, and columnist. He was also a contributing editor and later CEO of California Journal, an editorial advisor and columnist for State Net Capitol Journal, and a columnist for RealClearPolitics. He is the author of eight books, including five about Ronald Reagan.


A public reception at Mosher Alumni House will follow the panel.


Events may be photographed, livestreamed, and recorded.