State Assembly race packed with issues

With the finish line for the hotly contested, multimillion-dollar fight for the state Assembly just one week away, three Democratic candidates vying for the seat vowed to improve local health care, education and the economy — but not necessarily in that order.

The three Democrats — Millbrae Mayor Gina Papan, San Mateo County Supervisor Jerry Hill and community college board President Richard Holober — are competing in their primary to replace Assemblymember Gene Mullin, D-South San Francisco, in the June 3 election. Mullin will be termed out of office after six years in the 19th Assembly District seat, which presides over much of the county.

Each of the three said they would improve the “crises” of local health care, education and the economy for Peninsula residents. Each candidate, however, said they would tackle a different issue on their first day on the job if elected.

Hill said health care was the biggest crisis. There are more than 40,000 people living in the county without health care because lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., have failed residents, he said.

Hill leads the trio in campaign funds raised with more than $600,000 and has been handpicked by Mullin as hispreferred replacement.

Holober, meanwhile, cited education as the pressing need he would fight first to improve. The entire state is facing an attack from Republicans on school funding that has led to the state ranking 46th in the nation in per student spending, he said.

Papan argued that the economy would be the first topic she would address in Sacramento. She vowed to help re-create the state economy by doing away with tax loopholes and providing clean, green technology that will open up new jobs.

Papan said she also wants to streamline a universal transit pass that would work will all local public transportation.

A swirl of controversy has also enveloped the race in recent weeks. U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, who endorsed Hill on Monday, said last week that she was “deeply disappointed” in Papan for invoking the Congress member’s name in Papan’s campaign ads.

Papan publicly issued a smoldering letter against Hill on Monday, attacking the supervisor on his Republican history and campaign “smear tactics.”

Republicans Catherine Brinkman and Elsie Hernandez-Gufler, as well as Libertarian Brian Perry, also are aiming for the seat in their respective primaries, but the district has historically voted Democratic.

mrosenberg@sfexaminer.com

Statewide direct primary election: June 3

The Examiner surveys races in the June 3 primary election that affect San Mateo County residents.

Today

» 19th Assembly District

Wednesday

» San Mateo County supervisors

» 12th Congressional District

Thursday

» Pacifica School District parcel tax(Measure N)

» Millbrae School District parcel tax (Measure P)

Friday

» County of San Mateo sales tax (Measure O)

» Half Moon Bay special tax (Measure Q)

Saturday

» San Mateo County Superior Court judge

Gina Papan

» Age: 46

» Residence: Millbrae

» Party: Democrat

» Current political role: Millbrae mayor

Richard Holober

» Age: 55

» Residence: Millbrae

» Party: Democrat

» Current political role: San Mateo Community College Board president

Jerry Hill

» Age: 60

» Residence: San Mateo

» Party: Democrat

» Current political role: San Mateo County supervisor

Source: Candidates

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