Catching up With District 16 Assemblywoman Bauer-Kahan

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Courtesy of Office of Assembly Democrats
Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (L) with Gov. Gavin Newsom (seated) and fellow legislators at the signing of the gun violence restraining order bill Oct. 11. The bill allows employers, co-workers and teachers to seek gun violence restraining orders against other people.

    Coming up on her first-year anniversary, District 16 Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan looks back over a very busy 10 months. The Orinda resident travels to Sacramento Monday to Thursday when the legislature is in session, coming home each night to her husband Darren and three children, ages 5, 7 and 9.
    “We’re usually done in Sacramento by midday Thursday, so I spend Thursday afternoons and Fridays in the district,” says Bauer-Kahan, which includes Lamorinda, parts of Walnut Creek and the Tri-Valley. “All working moms have to juggle. But, luckily, I have incredible support from my husband. There is no way I could do this without him.”
    Bauer-Kahan also notes the support of her children. “The other day, my 7-year-old daughter said she wants me to run again because she knows I help people. That was so rewarding. Hopefully, I’m a role model for them.”
    The Democrat says she decided to run following the 2016 presidential election. “I’ve spent many years as an environmental litigator, and I’m the granddaughter of refugees. When the country took the turn it did in 2016, I decided rather than just being depressed I should step up and make sure the values that I knew District 16 and the community holds were represented at every level of government,” she says.
    Fighting climate change was a chief motivator. “Washington was going to turn its back on climate change, and I wanted to help California continue to protect the environment for my three little ones and all the community’s children. It’s very scary,” she adds.
In her first session, Bauer-Kahan has helped push six bills to approval with 13 more pending. Her diverse legislation includes such topics as the environment, protecting children, education, healthcare, public safety and more. “We created a bill package I think encompasses the values of District 16 – that’s what guides my office every day.”
    Bauer-Kahan credits her background as a lawyer, litigator and law professor for giving her the skills to analyze a vast array of legislation quickly. “They tell you not to fall in love with any of your bills, but I confess that I fall in love with all of them,” she confides. “Being the voice that brought the idea of a select committee on women’s reproductive health to the legislature has been an honor. I want to ensure that California is doing everything in its power to protect women and their health. I never thought in my lifetime a woman’s right to choose would be as fragile as it is now.”
    The 41-year-old says she finds working with Gov. Gavin Newsom a pleasure given they both share many of the same values. “He has worked hard to push forward a budget that is bold on climate change, education and other things that are really important but also fiscally responsible at the same time,” Bauer-Kahan says.
    Coming from a world of negotiation and compromise as a litigator, Bauer-Kahan says she was surprised to find how little of that was evident in Sacramento. “People often just try to push through their view, and I think we need to listen to each other more and find that middle ground. It will make for better policy. That was the type of law I was in and seeing so little of it on this side is disappointing to be frank.”
    The legislature is on recess through January with Bauer-Kahan back in District 16 working on her next legislative package. Her office is putting together roundtables on issues such as education and the environment. For information on bills Bauer-Kahan is sponsoring, committees she’s on and more, go to https://a16.asmdc.org.

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