Rebecca Bauer-Kahan will be the Valley’s Assemblymember when new state officials are sworn in next month.
The Orinda Democrat won a close contest against two-term Republican Catharine Baker of Dublin.
Baker issued an announcement Nov. 16, thanking her supporters. She said that many ballots remained to be counted, but the outcome is not expected to change.
“It has been the honor of my life to represent our community, a community I love in a state I love. I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as your Assemblymember,” said Baker.
Bauer-Kahan was unavailable for comment, but her campaign manager, Tim Steggall, said of the election, “We knew the incumbent was popular, but the energy on the ground was positive. I knew we would be close.”
Asked if there were a boost from the Blue Wave of Democrats in California, Steggell said that he was not sure how to quantify the purported Blue Wave, but he gave credit to community activists who had never participated in an election before. “We could not have done it without them,” he said.
Baker leaves office with a legacy of local legislation that responded to concerns of Valley residents. Baker worked with Democratic Assemblymember Susan Eggman of San Joaquin County to sponsor legislation that enabled the creation of the Valley Link rail system, after BART voted down Livermore’s 40-plus years of seeking a promised BART extension.
Baker joined with Democratic Senator Steve Glazer of Orinda to write a bill that will enable the state to change its mind about creating an off-road vehicle park near Tesla Road, instead preserving it for open space.
Baker and Glazer also spoke strongly on the Legislature’s floor against Assemblymember David Chiu’s AB 2923 bill to grant land use planning power adjacent to BART stations. Valley cities have said BART’s role is a usurpation of their local planning powers.
Baker and Glazer also opposed a bill by Sen. Scott Weiner that would raise planning densities higher near some transportation corridors.
Bauer-Kahan said in discussing her stand on the issues during the election that she also was opposed to AB2923. Bauer-Kahan said that if she won, she would be interested in revisiting AB 2923 with the new governor and legislature.
On the bill designed to help protect the Tesla Road area, Bauer-Kahan said, “We have an obligation to protect the land’s wildlife and environment.” The Sierra Club endorsed Bauer-Kahan.
The second seat on the Dublin City Council is still being watched. Shawn Kumagai stands in second place, with two to be elected, on the 9th update of the vote count on Nov. 17. Kumagai had 5940 votes vcompared to 5716 votes for Bobby Khullar. Khullar had not conceded, believing that when the final vote is counted, he has a chance to win.