A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Why I'm Supporting Loni Hancock for State Senate

This Saturday, I will be meeting with a number of fellow delegates to the California Democratic Party (not to be confused with presidential delegates who are going to the national convention in Denver later this year), to consider endorsements for the upcoming primary election.

Where we live, there is only one race up for grabs: State Senator, to replace the outgoing Don Perata.

I have decided to endorse Loni Hancock, over Wilma Chan, for this race.

I want to emphasize that I have absolutely nothing negative to say about Wilma Chan. I have met both candidates more than once, and I really like both of them. They are both personable, both extremely passionate and dedicated to public service, and I admire both of them greatly.

It would actually be very difficult to make a choice, much less make an endorsement, except for the undeniable fact, that Loni Hancock stands out, head and shoulders, as a progressive — not just a liberal. She has shown this in her positions and her leadership. The issues that she has taken on are the BIG PICTURE issues.

The biggest issue for me is "clean money" for campaigns. She is the author of AB 583, the California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act, which is still a movement in progress (see caclean.org). Getting corporate money out of politics has had a HUGE impact on the game in those states where it has passed, and many of of the battles in the senate and assembly would diminish greatly if the politicians weren't bought and paid for largely by big business — e.g. the oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, financial companies, etc. I want a senator who has fought for, and will continue to fight for, clean money in politics.

Hancock has been a leader on the front of fighting the Climate Crisis, having co-authored AB 32, the big greenhouse gas emission bill, and she's been leading on many other "green" issues. Since we are not likely to have a President elected who is particularly strong when it comes to fighting global warming, we need to take advantage of the leadership that California can accomplish. We're talking about the survival of our species here, and I would rather have a senator who is truly dedicated to this issue.

On the other hand, Wilma Chan, while certainly having a good set of accomplishments, notably in the Health, Education, and child safety areas, has not really led on the major issues like these that we MUST address if we are going to get anywhere.

(My only downside of Hancock is that apparently she, like many politicians, has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Then again, If she had endorsed Obama I'd be almost equally disappointed.)

My endorsement of Hancock will probably disappoint many people from Alameda; it appears that Chan has the endorsement of almost every elected official in the island city. (Mayor Johnson has endorsed both--?) Though it would be gosh-nifty-keen to continue to have an Alameda native son/daughter representing us in the State Senate, I think that we have to look at the big picture and see how our area and our state can be best served.

I am not making this plea for endorsement lightly. I think that in order to get an endorsement, a candidate has to strongly match with what you support. Loni Hancock fits the bill for this. Wilma Chan would make a good State Senator for us, but Loni Hancock would make a superb one. We need to send a true progressive to Sacramento because not many other areas in the state are likely to do so.


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