Incumbent state Sen. Carole Migden, Assemblymember Mark Leno and former Assemblymember Joe Nation each has an extensive record of public service and is qualified for the state Senate District 3 seat.
However, The Examiner endorses challenger Nation in the June 3 election because he has a stronger sense of the issues facing the typical Bay Area resident — employment, health care and education — than his two San Francisco opponents.
Nation’s history demonstrates that he can be expected to help lessen California’s contentious legislative gridlock by seeking moderate, nonpartisan solutions of difficult issues. He knows his way around the state Capitol, having served three Assembly terms from 2000 to 2006, rising to chairman of the Rules Committee before being termed out.
The district extends north from eastern San Francisco through Marin County and into Santa Rosa. Half of the district’s voters reside in Marin or Sonoma counties. If Migden and Leno split the San Francisco Democratic vote, Nation has a realistic chance to carry the district.
Migden admits she has had a tough year. She pleaded guilty in an erratic-driving highway accident and paid a record-breaking $350,000 fine for campaign-finance violations. But the feisty veteran legislator is fighting back, energetically reaching out to all corners of District 3.
Migden says she is running on her proven record of effectively getting legislation that benefits her constituents passed and signed into law. She blames her driving accident on an adverse reaction to new medication for leukemia and insists she is now in remission. She also blames her campaign-finance troubles on being distracted from office accountancy during the most intensive period of her cancer treatment.
The Examiner does not deny that Leno has been effective as a three-term Assembly member and before that on the Board of Supervisors. But our position is that the Bay Area economy would be better served by a Democrat such as Nation.
Nation has creative proposals for increasing revenue as the state faces one of the largest deficits in recent history, such as a green-vehicle licensing fee that would be based on the value of the car coupled with its mileage. This levy would raise billions for state coffers and help California hit recently passed emission reduction goals.
Nation also notes that the rules on the state sales tax are archaic, failing to recognize the changing nature if our service-industry economy. He also says he will seek better incentives to attract solar-panel installers and other green businesses to California away from lower-tax states.
Nation is an economics professor who has worked at the Rand Institute; he has a doctorate in public policy. His proposals to take advantage of the growing green economy to attract jobs and revenue — as opposed to quick fixes currently being floated that look to gaming and gambling for economic answers — are among many reasons he should serve in Sacramento.
This state needs forward-looking thinkers. Nation is up to the task.