SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Two San Mateo County politicians are vying to replace Rep. Jackie Speier as the Peninsula’s representative in the House.
Kevin Mullin, Speaker of the California State Assembly, has the endorsement of Speier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (who represents the neighboring district to the north), Gov. Gavin Newsom, and the state Democratic Party.
“I’m talking to Democrats and they are concerned about what’s happening to our democracy,” Mullin told KRON4 News. “Certainly the attack on Paul Pelosi is on top of people’s minds.”
David Canepa, a San Mateo County supervisor, is running an underdog campaign. He has the endorsement of several Democratic clubs and current and former elected officials, such as Shamann Walton, the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and the mayors of Brisbane, Pacifica, and East Palo Alto.
Canepa has made health care a key issue in his campaign.
“I was able to lead the county during COVID,” Canepa told KRON4 News, referring to his work helping transition the Seton Medical Center into a treatment center for COVID-19 patients and helping to save the only hospital in Daly City from being taken down in the bankruptcy of its owner Verity Health Systems.
Speier, a survivor of the 1978 Jonestown massacre, has represented the area since 2008. She announced last year that it’s “time for me to come home,” as KRON4 reported at the time.
The district is changing too; a district that once covered the western Peninsula, such as Half Moon Bay and El Grenada, and San Francisco’s Park Merced neighborhood has shrunken, though San Francisco’s Excelsior and Visitacion Valley neighborhoods are still within the district’s boundaries, meaning that Pelosi isn’t the only representative in Congress’ lower chamber for the City By The Bay.
Mullin worked for Speier during her time in the California State Senate.
“Jackie is an icon on the Peninsula and people want someone qualified to succeed her,” Mullin said. “I’m ready to represent the district on day one. Any new job has a learning curve but I have a proven track record of experience.”
KRON ON is streaming live
Mullin started in elected politics in 2007, and served one year as mayor of South San Francisco in 2011. He said that as Pro-Tem in Sacramento he’s been able to work with Republicans to pass legislation, and called his time in the statehouse an “excellent training ground for Washington.”
“I had to work across the table and people do want politics to work again,” Mullin said. “People see D.C. as a dysfunctional political culture. It’s hard to argue with that.”
Canepa said he wants to push for Medicare for All so that people can avoid medical bankruptcies and he wants to fight for more federal action on climate change.
“We need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels,” Canepa said. “When I’m in Congress, I’ll make sure that money is invested into clean technology.”
Mullin and Canepa became the only two candidates for Tuesday’s race after finishing as the top two in June’s jungle primary, winning 42% and 24% of the vote, respectively.