Four candidates seek
Distrct 12 Assembly seat
By Angela Hokanson, Bay City News Service
June 3, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Two Democrats with somewhat similar
visions for California are vying for their party's nomination
for District 12's state Assembly seat in the June 6 Gubernatorial
Primary Election and are running alongside a Republican and a
Green party candidate, who are hoping to get enough votes to be
included on the ballot in November.
State Assembly District 12 covers the western half of San Francisco
and extends south into San Mateo County, including all of Colma
and unincorporated Broadmoor Village and part of Daly City.
Fiona Ma, a San Francisco supervisor for District 4, and Janet
Reilly, a member of the board of directors of the Golden Gate
Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, are competing for
the Democratic slot on the ticket.
Barry Hermanson, the former owner of a temporary employment service
and one of the leaders of the Proposition L campaign, which increased
San Francisco's minimum wage in 2003, is the Green Party candidate.
The Republican candidate is Howard Epstein, the former owner
of a construction equipment rental business and a wholesale janitorial
supply business and the Vice Chair of the San Francisco Republican
Ma's top political goals if elected are to fully fund public
education through Proposition 98, provide universal healthcare
across the state and create jobs in California, according to Tom
Hsieh, a campaign consultant for the Ma campaign.
Ma distinguishes herself as a candidate by her 10 years of experience
in state and local government, Hsieh said.
Ma began working for then-state Sen. John Burton in 1995, and
spent more than seven years with Burton as a district representative,
according to Hsieh.
This experience working in the "trenches" of state
and local government would help Ma hit the ground running if she
were elected to the District 12 Assembly seat, Hsieh said.
Reilly, who has worked as a public relations manager for Mervyns
department stores and as a news reporter, emphasizes the fresh
perspective she would bring to the state Assembly.
Some of Reilly's top political goals include providing health
care for all Californians, improving the quality of public education
and access to post-secondary education and planning for California's
projected population growth.
Reilly was appointed to the Golden Gate Bridge board of directors
by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Reilly said she has
learned a lot about regional cooperation between Bay Area cities
and counties through her work on the board.
The Democratic candidate who obtains the largest number of votes
in Tuesday's primary will advance to the general election in November.
There is no minimum threshold of votes needed to determine which
Democrat has won in the primary election.
Green Party candidate Barry Hermanson calls himself an advocate
of the "everyday worker." Hermanson served as co chair
of the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition in 1999 and 2000 and
in 2003 worked the city's Proposition L campaign, which raised
the minimum wage in San Francisco from $6.75 to $8.50 an hour.
Hermanson took issue with the large sums of money being spent
by both the Ma and the Reilly campaigns and questioned who the
corporations, wealthy contributors and special interests funding
these campaigns might be.
Hermanson needs only 40 votes to have his name appear on the
"The real race for me begins when I find out who the Democratic
opponent is," he said.
Republican candidate Howard Epstein is running on a platform
of fiscal responsibility. Epstein said he would seek to make the
state more business-friendly. He's also interested in strengthening
property rights and reforming healthcare to reduce the cost of
Epstein cited his experience as a small business owner as an
asset he'd bring to elected office.
"In small business, you learn to do things quickly and economically,"
Epstein serves on the boards of directors of both the Small Property
Owners of San Francisco and the San Francisco Taxpayer Union.
Of the two Democratic candidates, Epstein said, "I think
they're pretty much the same person" in terms of their political
views. Ma counts U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and the California teachers'
and firefighters' unions among her supporters.
Reilly has been endorsed by Assemblyman Leland Yee, the Service
Employees International Union's United Healthcare Workers and
the San Francisco firefighters' union.
The Sierra Club has endorsed both Hermanson's and Reilly's campaigns.
And Epstein has been endorsed by California Young Republicans
and Republicans United for San Francisco.
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