SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Central Coast politicians watched Wednesday as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.
Congressman Salud Carbajal of California's 24th district was at the inauguration ceremony in front of the U.S. Capitol, sharing a photo on Twitter with the message "Today is a new day."
The Central Coast democrat also tweeted a congratulatory message to new vice president and former California senator Kamala Harris.
In a video message, Carbajal shared his thoughts after attending the inauguration.
“Today was a great and historic day for our country” he said. “Where we witnessed yet again the peaceful transition of power.”
Carbajal is part of a Congress where democrats now control both chambers. He says he is looking forward to "the bold actions and policy agenda that President Biden and Vice President Harris are setting out."
The Inauguration ceremony's message focused strongly on the need to unify a politically divided country.
“I really appreciated and I resonated with President Biden’s call for unity,” Carbajal said. “That we must come together and turn a new chapter, where we work together in unity to try to improve the lives of all Americans. To try to get beyond our divisions. And to understand that there’s more that unites us than divides us.”
Central Coast republican Andy Caldwell, who opposed Carbajal in the November election, also hopes Biden can reunify the nation.
"My hope is that Biden will be successful, but with a caveat," Caldwell said Wednesday. "I hope that he will be successful by trying to bring the country back together, which will require both parties to quit demagogue-ing each other… And I believe without unity, our country is weak.”
Caldwell wants Biden's policies to "drift towards the middle" of the political spectrum, and avoid ideas Caldwell calls "extreme," like packing the courts with liberal judges, adding new states to inflate democrats' Congressional majority and abolishing the electoral college.
“I don’t know how much influence the people around [Biden] will have, and/or some of the far-left forces within the Congress that could serve to push him or drive his agenda,” Caldwell said. “So all we can literally really do is hope and pray for our country.”
Caldwell called on Americans to tune out the rhetoric and conspiracy theories "coming from both parties" and "get back to the basics which unite us."