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Three candidates vie for District 8 Senate seat

Bay City News Service

June 3, 2006

The race to succeed state Sen. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, in District 8 of the state Senate is becoming heated, as the three Democrats vying for her seat have less than two days before the June 6 Gubernatorial Primary election.

Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, former San Mateo County supervisor Mike Nevin and former assemblyman Lou Papan acknowledge they've got different visions for the state, although they also all believe they're each the best choice to fill Speier's shoes.

Both Yee and Papan refer to their experience in the Assembly as invaluable and irreplaceable. However, Nevin's camp argues that he has done more in Sacramento than both his competitors.

"Mike Nevin has accomplished more in Sacramento on the board of supervisors than Yee and Papan," Nevin's campaign spokesman Seamus Murphy said, referring to Nevin's years as supervisor in San Mateo County. "He's very familiar with Sacramento."

Nevin's camp is quick to point out that, while Papan and Yee may appear to have more experience in Sacramento, neither of them has accomplished anything of substance.

Papan never did "anything that was jam packed full of accomplishments," Murphy said. And Yee, according Murphy, "has a bad habit of doing the wrong thing at the wrong time."

Murphy cited Yee's vote against a bill proposing a ban on toxic chemicals in plastic baby toys. According to Murphy, Yee agreed to vote in favor of the ban but later voted against it. He said that a week later Yee accepted "lots of money" from plastic companies.

If elected, Nevin plans to work toward introducing full funding for education, universal healthcare and environmental preservation, Murphy said.

Two things that Yee and Nevin do have in common is their desire to offer greater healthcare and their concern for education. Yee has received support from several statewide and local teachers associations in this election, according to his campaign spokesman David Noyola.

"Leland's the only candidate who has ever worked in the classroom," Noyola said. "He knows how to deal with the issues that matter most to the district."

Those issues include quality healthcare, civil rights, affordable housing and education, according to his campaign.

"Leland believes everyone in this state deserves access to quality healthcare," Noyola said. "In the Senate he will continue to work for universal healthcare."

As an assembly speaker pro tem, one of Yee's most publicized efforts was Assembly Bill 1179, which authorizes a fine of up to $1,000 against stores and individuals caught selling games categorized as ultra-violent to children under the age of 17.

"Leland has shown his ability to be effective," Noyola said. "He can get the job done."

Murphy said he thought there were "a lot more important issues that need to be tackled" than the video game legislation.

Of the three candidates, Papan could be considered the wild card.

"If everybody who supports Lou Papan votes, he'll win," Papan's campaign manager Frank Gallagher said.

"The fact that we have an opportunity to send someone like Lou Papan with 20 years of history back" is amazing, Gallagher said.

According to Gallagher, alongside his other interests, Papan is specifically concerned with education.

"While the opponents are talking about the need to fund education, Lou is the only one offering up ideas," Gallagher said.

Papan wants to change the way commercial properties are currently taxed under Proposition 13. By taxing commercial properties differently than residential properties more funding could be raised for schools.

According to Gallagher, Papan also wants to index the gas tax. This means that, as gasoline prices continue to rise, oil companies would have to pay more in taxes, Gallagher said.

Also running for Speier's state Senate seat are Republicans Michael Skipakevich and Oscar Alejandro Braun.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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