Opinion: Buffy Wicks is the best choice for the 15th Assembly District 

We have served a combined 34 years in the California Legislature and believe that Wicks shares our values and will bring her quite remarkable organizing experience to the Legislature.

After an exceptionally crowded primary election, many of us were not sure how to choose between the “top two” remaining candidates.

After attending meetings featuring both candidates, (including the League of Women Voters candidate forum), poring over their websites, even checking with co-workers and former co-workers with both candidates, we have concluded that Buffy Wicks is the best choice to represent the people of the 15th District in the State Assembly.

We have had the honor and opportunity to serve a combined 34 years in the California Legislature, representing one of the most progressive districts in the State. We believe it is important for this area to be represented by someone with clear progressive values and the ability to pass and implement important legislation. We need a representative who will move forward the issues this district cares about: economic equality, affordable housing, universal health care, the opportunity for a world-class education and take the really drastic steps that are needed to combat climate change.

The person representing this district has a great opportunity to make the state a better, safer and more beautiful place to work and live. But it takes more than progressive sound bites. It takes the ability to take an idea and turn into a law. It means working with a broad range of interests, and often with legislators from more conservative districts, to fine-tune laws that meet as many legitimate concerns as possible. We believe that Buffy Wicks has the experience, progressive values, and ability to provide the leadership the people of this district deserve.

Buffy was raised by a working-class family in the foothills of Northern California. She went to public schools, including community college.

She cut her political teeth working in two causes dear to our hearts: organizing against the Bush war in Iraq, and with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, fighting for better pay and working conditions for Walmart employees. As her skills as an organizer became recognized, she went to work for what were then the most progressive presidential candidates of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean followed by Barack Obama.

Like all of us, Buffy was surprised to learn that Tony Thurmond was not going to run for re-election, and at the suggestion of friends and co-workers decided to run for the 15th Assembly Seat.

Buffy has lived in the East Bay off and on for the last 20 years. She moved permanently to Oakland with her husband to start a family about three years ago. When she decided to run, she was determined to fully understand the issues and concerns of all parts of the 15th District. Since then she has been hosted at more than 200 house parties and heard and learned from people in every corner of the district. She was by far the top vote-getter in the June primary.

We believe that Buffy Wicks shares our values, and will bring her quite remarkable organizing experience to the Legislature. She will bring her skills and knowledge to work on building affordable housing, boosting funding for public education and extending funding to pre-school children, fighting for the environment and getting single payer healthcare adopted. We feel fortunate to have her as our candidate in these times when so much needs to be done, and hope you will join us in voting for her on Nov. 6.

Loni Hancock and Tom Bates are both former mayors of Berkeley. Hancock also served in the Assembly and State Senate. Bates also served in the Assembly

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