Who will represent the East Bay in Congress?
By Matt Regan
The ballroom of the Concord Crowne Plaza was filled to over flowing on Friday morning with members of the East Bay business community eager to hear from their next member of Congress. Who that person might be is still to be decided, thus the 10th Congressional District candidates’ forum that the Bay Area Council co-hosted with the Contra Costa Council.
As you may know, Ellen Tauscher the sitting Representative was recently confirmed as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and she will be sorely missed by her district and the whole Bay Area. The race to replace Congresswoman Tauscher is proving to be very hot indeed with, at the last count, 14 candidates in the running. This election cycle is an unusually short one with a special election on September 1, followed by the top vote getter from each party advancing to the general on November 3.
Going into the debate, if all you knew about the respective candidates was what their campaigns are putting out, you’d know that John Garamendi went to Harvard and rides a horse, Mark Desaulnier has been endorsed by just about everyone and likes photos of Mount Diablo, Joan Buchanan is not one of the boys and doesn’t play poker, and David Harmer really dislikes bailouts. (voters in the 10th district will understand) The purpose of the forum therefore was to ask the tough questions and put the candidates on the spot on the key policy issues of the day ranging from healthcare, water, education, foreign affairs, transportation and the economy.
We were treated to a lively and educational forum and came away with a much fuller understanding of where each candidate stands and what priorities they will take to Washington D.C. Senator Mark Desaulnier, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, David Harmer, Lt. Governor John Garamendi, Anthony Woods, Christopher Bunch, Gary Clift, John Toth, Adriel Hampton, Jeremy Cloward, David Peterson, Mark Loos and John Toth all participated.
Thanks to Chevron, AAA (Northern California & Nevada), Safeway, Tesoro and Mechanics Bank for their generous sponsorship of this event and special thanks to Lisa Vorderbruggen of the Contra Costa Times for refereeing the panel and keeping everyone on time and on topic – for the most part.