By Kurt Gonska on June 13, 2014
By Susan Cloke. Originally published in the Santa Monica Mirror.
Santa Monicans take elections seriously. Usually it’s the top of the ticket that brings people out to vote. But the top of the ticket was a no contest race with Governor Jerry Brown, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and State Attorney General Kamala Harris handily keeping their place on the November ballot. In Santa Monica the races were a lot more exciting.
Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver are in a runoff to replace Zev Yaroslavsky as the next 3rd District Supervisor in the upcoming November general election. Santa Monica/Malibu School Board Member Ben Allen will face public advocate Sandra Fluke in a run-off for 26th District State Senator.
I spoke with all four candidates about campaigning, about their issue and policy goals, and about their leadership skills and about public service. What follows is a snapshot of each candidate.
Candidate for State Senator 26th District Sandra Fluke
“I’m not someone who thought for a long time about running for office,” said Fluke. “I’ve been devoted to public interest work. I’ve done legislative advocacy and represented indigent clients. And I’ve seen what I can accomplish as a lawyer and advocate and thought of how much more I could accomplish as a legislator and that is why I chose to run for office. The decision is not more complicated than giving voice to people without voice.
“I’m also concerned about the number of women in office and helping to make sure government looks more like the people.
“I’m looking to be most effective and where I can pass legislation for maximum impact. That commits me to working in CA because we in CA can make a national impact.
“My commitment comes from shared values with my parents and the place where I grew up - a rural, conservative community in Central PA and they are still trying to figure out what went wrong with me!
“My husband and I starting making our home in California about seven years ago. He is a writer and producer and works in the Industry. He worked on Lopez Tonight and on JibJab – internet based comedy videos.”
“Being a State Senator will allow me to be even more effective as I work for environmental protections, a fracking moratorium, and particularly important in a coastal district is the crisis over water. I work for local solutions for environmental problems.
“We also need to increase our investment in early childhood education, not only important for closing the achievement gap but it is also one of the most effective investment in education that we can make. CA is one of the lowest states in the Country on per pupil investment and that’s unacceptable. And we have to make sure college is affordable and jobs are available to graduates.”
Abigail Gardner, Communications Consultant to the Fluke campaign said, “Our campaign wanted to use every medium. We made over 100,000 voter contacts. We knocked on doors and made phone calls, used social media, Twitter, Facebook, and Sandra sent regular, weekly emails to supporters and volunteers.
“It was a point of pride for Sandra that there were no independent expenditure campaigns for or against her. And that the campaign was entirely supported by over 1800 donors and average donation was under $250,” said Gardner.
When asked about campaign reform Fluke said, “Ben and I are in regular contact with each other but campaign reform is a bigger issue than our campaign and we need to work on this in Sacramento – increasing transparency, providing matching funds. It’s clear that people really want to see action taken and that special interests have too much influence and control.
“Every candidate has control over donations to their campaign. I’m proud that my focus has been on community support.”