Swalwell for Congress, DeSaulnier for State Senate, Buchanan for AssemblyCongressman Pete Stark, a 20-term U.S. Representatives who has served a part of Pleasanton and a larger part of the East Bay longer than many of us have lived here (or even been alive), is taking a lot of heat for seeking re-election. Some consider him, at age 80, too old to stay in Congress, although many who have been older have served with distinction. Others argue that his home on the Eastern Shore where he lives with his younger wife and young children is too far from the district he represents, although many congress members and senators, including Dianne Feinstein, have long ago moved into homes closer to the Capitol. Jerry McNerney, who leaves us next month due to redistricting, is perhaps the exception, flying home almost every weekend to Pleasanton.
Our problem with Stark is not where he lives or his age, it's his politics. His voting record is so far to the left that he made Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi seem almost conservative. His strong liberal views now outpace most of the far left in Congress and at a time when political leaders of both parties are moving toward the center.
That's why we like Eric Swalwell, a Dublin Councilman and Alameda County prosecutor. Still a Democrat like Stark, Swalwell is a moderate whose supporters cross party lines and include business and even union leaders. Swalwell, at age 31, promises to bring new energy and younger ideas to Congress, including a mobile Congress initiative that we like that would allow representatives to spend more time with their constituents (and their families) in their home district. He says he'll work on reducing the national deficit but not at a pace that would threaten today's feeble economic recovery. As a local lawmaker, Swalwell is also closely identified with local schools and sees first-hand the impact federal legislation has on state and local education. Although fairly green in terms of political experience, he has the savvy to be our representative in the newly aligned 15th Congressional District.
As for the newly aligned 7th State Senate District, Mark DeSaulnier has our endorsement. As chairman of the State Assembly and now the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, he has pushed through funding for a wider, safer Highway 4, eBART expansion in Contra Costa County and drilling of the fourth bore of the Caldecott tunnel. While not well known in Pleasanton, which his new district now represents, he has been at numerous receptions and political rallies since taking on this part of Alameda County.
Due to a quirk in the new redistricting, DeSaulnier will also have the helping hand of our long-term State Sen. Ellen Corbett, who keeps her job of representing Pleasanton in the old 10th District until her term expires in 2014. That's two state senators for the next two years. Not bad if we need something from Sacramento. The other Mark in this race, Mark Meuser, DeSaulnier's opponent and a Republican from Walnut Creek, has never held an elective office. He's a small business owner and an attorney, but, frankly, we haven't seen him campaigning enough in the Tri-Valley to think of him as a viable candidate.
In the state's new 15th Assembly District, we endorse Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, a legislator well known in Pleasanton. A former school board member in the San Ramon Valley, Buchanan also has an extensive business background and she has served this district well since first being elected to the Assembly in 2008. Her opponent is Republican Al Phillips, a Livermore resident who works in construction. He is a member of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. We prefer Buchanan over Phillips.