Local, National Candidates Emerge as Election Deadline Approaches

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(David Dierks, Photographer)
Darleene Gee (L) and Inga Miller are seeking re-election to the Orinda City Council in November.

    While Major League Baseball navigates a delayed, truncated season, the playing field of local, state and federal politics has barely begun training camp as old timers and new talent announce their intentions to run for office.
    Filing for city council, school board, fire district and like entities began July 13 and continues through Aug. 7. If an incumbent in a race decides not to run, the filing period extends until Aug. 12.
    In Orinda, the city council has two members up for re-election: Darlene Gee and Inga Miller. Both have decided to seek re-election.
Major issues for Gee include downtown revitalization, Orinda’s roads and drains as well as fire protection. “There are lots of important things in progress right now, and I’d like to see them through,” said Gee. “Fire prevention is so important, and we’re just getting started on additional ways to keep our community safe. I want to keep pushing forward on our downtown as well. It’s really important for our community in the long run.”
    Miller said it is a “great honor” to serve in her hometown. “The biggest thing now is keeping everyone connected during this trying time,” she said. “It’s a challenge to stay in touch with our neighbors and keep them safe.”
    Fire prevention is a top priority for Miller, who said the community has come to accept Orinda’s vulnerability. “People are learning about things they can do to help make their homes and gardens more fire safe, and we as a city need to support that,” Miller said.
    She also noted the importance of renovating the downtown area. “I remember as a youngster growing up here how lively the Village area was. We need to find a way to get that back while retaining Orinda’s charm.”
    As of press deadline, July 21, no challengers had pulled papers to run for City Council.
    With COVID-19 requiring a new game plan for education, the Orinda Union School District (OUSD) will require inventive strategies from its board as educators grapple with a combination of at-home and in-class learning models.
    Incumbents Cara Hoxie and Hillary Weiner have decided to run again for the OUSD Board of Trustees. “I really like my job and being of service to our community. My priority right now is getting our kids back to school and our teachers back in the classroom as safely as possible,” Hoxie said. “What’s going on right now isn’t normal, and it won’t be for a while as we deal with this pandemic.”
    Weiner said educating students during the pandemic while keeping students, teachers and staff safe, is a top priority. “Orinda schools are in the midst of an incredibly uncertain time, with severe budget constraints, education challenges during a pandemic, ongoing concerns about racial and social injustice, continuing safety concerns as fire season approaches, and many other issues. I want to continue the work that the current board has been doing, alongside the incredible team of district leaders, teachers, staff and community members.”
    The number of challengers who had pulled papers to run for OUSD Board of Trustees was not available by July 21.
    Wildfire is always a hot topic for Orinda residents and candidates’ priorities will be carefully scrutinized by voters. Two Moraga-Orinda Fire District board positions are up for re-election in November but Orinda only votes for the District 5 director.
    Craig Jorgens currently holds that position and he will seek re-election. “I pointed out in my last election the importance of prevention, early detection and fiscal prudence,” said Jorgens. “I am very encouraged about the passion with which many Orindans in my district are now building their neighborhood Firewise programs and utilizing MOFD’s free chipping services.”
    The number of challengers for MOFD District 5 was not available by July 21.
    For supervisors, state assembly and state senate, California uses a “Top-two Primary” format, meaning the top two candidates in March’s primary election advanced to the November general election. District 2 Supervisor Candace Anderson ran unopposed in the March primary securing her next term.
    Orinda resident and State Senator for District 7, Steve Glazer, will face Julie Mobley in November.
    Glazer said he plans to continue his fight protecting California’s air and water from polluters, standing up to the gun lobby, beating the tobacco and vaping lobby, and holding PG&E accountable.
    Mobley said her experiences as an engineer and research and development manager, as well as a mom and community volunteer, have given her a unique perspective on the state’s biggest challenges.
    Orinda resident Rebecca Bauer-Kahan hopes to retain her seat as State Assembly District 16 representative over challenger Joseph Rubay.
    Bauer-Kahan’s legislative priorities include protecting women’s health, helping local governments earn more funding from competitive state transportation grants, working to fund public schools and strengthening gun safety laws.
    Rubay lists offering affordable healthcare, improving the quality of education and ensuring government transparency among his main concerns.
    On the federal level, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier is running for re-election in the 11th Congressional District. He said he wants to return to Congress to address healthcare, fix the economy for working families, pass infrastructure funding, and safeguard the environment.
    DeSaulnier’s challenger is Nisha Sharma, who lists the cost of living, infrastructure and homelessness in the Bay Area as top priorities.
    Election Day is Nov. 3. Voters can register at http://www.cocovote.us/registration-and-voting-options/register-to-vote. Local residents can register up to 15 days prior to Election Day. After that deadline, a person can obtain a conditional voter registration.
    For those voting by mail, ballots are sent out 29 days before Election Day and can be mailed to the county or dropped off at any polling location.

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