Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Longtime Central, South Coast Congresswoman Writes New Book Looking At Her Road To Washington, D.C.

(Pete Souza/The White House)
President Obama with legislators, including Democratic Congresswoman Lois Capps of Santa Barbara (third from left)

She’s had an amazing life. She has a degree in nursing, a masters degrees in religion, worked as a school instructor, and along the way, had three kids. Then, at age 60, she ran for Congress, and won not just once, not twice, but nine times, representing Santa Barbara, and parts of Ventura and Sam Luis Obispo Counties. Lois Capps became known for her efforts to protect the environment, and her fights for quality health care.Now, she's written a new book about her experiences.

Capps retired in 2017. Her book, called “Keeping Faith in Congress” which looks at her unlikely path to Washington, D.C., and how she tried to bring a positive approach to an often negative atmosphere.

Capps met her husband, Walter Capps, while they both attended Yale. They got married in 1960, and moved to Santa Barbara, where he became a popular UC Santa Barbara religious studies class. He taught a class on the Vietnam War which was so acclaimed “60 Minutes” did a story on it.

Then, he made a startling decision; to run for Congress in a district which had gone Republican for decades. Walter Capps was elected in 1996, but just nine months into office, he had a fatal heart attack. Lois had been heavily involved in his campaign, and decided she needed to follow through on her late husband’s dreams. But. even with the late congressman’s staff lining up to help her, Capps admits it wasn’t an easy decision.

She soon developed a reputation as one of the friendliest, most pleasant people to work with. But, she admits in rough and tumble world of Washington, D.C., that wasn’t necessarily a good thing, with some saying she wasn’t tough enough.

Capps says she proud of her efforts to protect the environment, and freeze new oil leases in federal waters. She admits it’s frustrating to see the Trump Administration trying to roll back protections. She says as a former nurse, perhaps her proudest accomplishment is helping to turn the Affordable Care Act into reality.

Capps says it’s disheartening to see the partisan politics occurring in Washington, D.C. saying that regardless of party, the end goal is to best serve the people. Capps admits she never planned on writing a book about her life, and time in Congress.

But, she says when a publisher gave her the chance, she decided to take on the challenge of reminding people about the need for compassion, and civility. “Keeping Faith in Congress” is now available in bookstores, and online.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
Related Stories