State Senator Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, is facing two challengers in the March 3 primary, fellow Democrat Marisol Rubio of San Ramon, and Republican Julie Mobley of Danville, as he seeks reelection to a second full term representing the 7th Senate District.

The top two vote-getters of next month’s election, regardless of party, will face off in the Nov. 3 general election.

The 7th District stretches across most of Contra Costa County east of the Berkeley Hills, parts of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to the north and in Alameda County, it includes the Tri-Valley communities of Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore.

Glazer, a former Orinda councilman and mayor, was a long-time political advisor to former Governor Jerry Brown. He was first elected to the state Senate after winning a hotly-contested 2015 special election against fellow Democrat Susan Bonilla for the vacant Senate seat left by Mark DeSaulnier, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Glazer handily won reelection to a full four-year term in November 2016.

Rubio, a health care provider, disability rights advocate, and founder of San Ramon Progressives, is running on what she describes as a “people-powered” platform. She said her campaign is not accepting corporate campaign money.

It has aligned itself with organized labor, winning endorsements and campaign contributions from some of the most politically powerful labor unions in the state, including including the California Teachers Association, the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, and the California Labor Federation. Rubio is herself an active member of SEIU Local 2015 Region 5.

Julie Mobley, a community volunteer from Danville, is running as a Republican. She did not return calls seeking comment for this story by press time.

Rubio was born in Chicago to immigrant parents originally from Colombia and raised by a single mother who was a public school teacher.

She moved to the Bay Area in 2003 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in molecular and cell biology with an emphasis in neurobiology from UC, Berkeley. She was a California delegate for Bernie Sanders at the Philadelphia Democratic National Convention in 2016.

Her trajectory toward the study of biology, the brain, and political activism started with a battle to save her daughter’s life, she said.

Weeks after her daughter’s first birthday in 1996, doctors discovered she had a brain tumor. It was at first misdiagnosed as being benign. Rubio thought otherwise, and for months advocated for alternative testing.

Her pleas were ignored by a team of specialists at the hospital, until a neurosurgeon at a top pediatric hospital gave her advice that led to a proper diagnosis and discovery that the cancer had spread, she said. It wasn’t the only serious preventable medical error she discovered that could have resulted in her daughter’s premature death, she said.

Had her mother not lived near the hospital, and able to support her role as a patient advocate and caregiver, Rubio said she doesn't know how she would have managed.

“These were critical decisions,” Rubio recalled. “They were going to send her home to die.” Rubio’s daughter is now 23 and attending college, despite having a learning disability resulting from her illness.

Rubio said she believes her academic background and personal experiences would allow her to bridge what she sees as a disconnect between policymakers and struggling families in the district.

If elected, Rubio said she would push for universal single-payer health care in California, work to steer more money toward public education instruction, universal pre-kindergarten, and special needs programs, and also work to fund more wildfire prevention in the state.

Glazer, the incumbent, has more than 40 years of government experience at both the state and local levels.

He recently co-authored legislation that put Prop. 13—a $15 billion school construction bond, the largest in the state’s history, on the March ballot.

He opposed the controversial housing bill SB50, which he said usurps local control without addressing some of the core problems that created the housing crisis.

In January, he introduced a package of bills with North Bay Sen. Mike McGuire that aim to improve public safety during PG&E power shut-offs.

Among other things, the bills would: require a minimum 72 hours of battery backup power on cell-service provider towers; and require PG&E to provide backup batteries or generators for medically vulnerable people who depend on electricity for life-saving medical equipment. Glazer also introduced a bill to temporarily lift restrictions on the use of emergency backup generators during declared emergencies.

As a college student at San Diego State University, Glazer volunteered with Jerry Brown’s 1978 re-election campaign. He said he liked Brown’s views on energy conservation and the environment, and that he was fiscally frugal.

Glazer went on to work in the Brown Administration after college. In the early 1980s served as press secretary for then-Assemblyman Gray Davis. He was the spokesman for late California State Supreme Court Chief Justice Rose Bird, who at the time was fighting to stay on the bench amid a recall campaign, and later he served as a senior staffer for former Senate President Pro Tem David Roberti.

He also managed Brown’s 2010 election campaign and worked for him in the Capitol after the election. In between, he went into business for himself as a political consultant.

Glazer has lived in Contra Costa County since 1996. He served on the Orinda City Council for 10 years, from 2004 to early 2015, and served three terms as mayor. Glazer considers himself a progressive Democrat. His two daughters attended public schools.

Mobley, the Republican candidate, grew up in Silicon Valley and attended UC Berkeley, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering, according to her campaign website.

After college, she joined Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati as a research and development engineer, then returned to the West Coast as an engineer for Seattle-based Starbucks, before returning to the Bay Area where she worked as a scientist and product manager for Clorox, according to her website.

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