Rep. Jackie Speier has represented parts of the Peninsula since 2008 when she succeeded Tom Lantos, who died in office after serving for 27 years.
Now, Speier’s decision to retire at the end of her term has created a rare open Bay Area congressional seat and attracted five candidates to represent the newly drawn 15th District, which stretches from southern San Francisco to Menlo Park.
Assemblyman Kevin Mullin’s track record in the state Assembly makes him the standout choice in the June 7 election. Mullin, D-San Mateo, who has Speier’s endorsement, served on the South San Francisco City Council for four years before being elected to the Assembly in 2012. He doesn’t just talk about the region’s most crucial issues, he has acted on them.
Take voting rights. He pushed through the universal vote-by-mail program that made San Mateo County the first county in the Bay Area to conduct an off-year election entirely by mail, resulting in record turnout. He authored the Disclose Act, a first-in-the nation law, signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017, that requires political ads to prominently disclose their funding sources.
On climate change, Mullin worked to gain $1 billion for the Bay Area to combat sea level rise and improve the state’s resiliency. He authored two bills as part of the $15 billion climate package that was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom last September. He co-authored legislation that led to voter approval in 2018 of Proposition 68, which provided funding for Bay Area wetlands restoration, clean drinking water, drought preparedness and water recycling projects.
On affordable housing, Mullin authored a bill preserving current affordable housing units and led legislation addressing barriers to construction of teacher housing.
The other candidates in the race are two Democrats, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa and Burlingame City Councilwoman Emily Beach, Republican small business owner Gus Mattammal and real estate salesman Ferenc Pataki, who is running as an independent.
Beach has an intriguing background, having graduated from the University of Notre Dame before serving in the U.S. Army in South Korea and Saudi Arabia. She then worked for a semiconductor company for three years and has served on the Burlingame City Council since 2015. She says climate change, affordable housing and women’s reproductive rights would be her primary issues if elected.
Canepa is a progressive and admirer of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. He echoes her positions on the Green New Deal and advocates for Medicare and free community college for all.
Mattammal is an unconventional Republican. He supports universal health care modeled after Singapore’s system. He believes climate change is real and would push for greater investments in carbon-capture technology. But Mattammal has not held political office and lacks the financial backing to make him a serious contender.
Pataki is a single-issue candidate who says repealing the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and giving Congress the ability to control monetary policy would erase the federal debt and provide revenues necessary to solve, for example, homelessness, climate change and inflation.
Mullin’s experience and proven track record make him the best choice for voters.
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