Mayor Jesse Arreguín endorsed Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett on Wednesday, for a seat on the state assembly after Bartlett served on the council for about 11 months.
Both Bartlett and Arreguín were elected into office November 2016. Arreguín’s endorsement, posted on Bartlett’s campaign page, highlighted Bartlett’s goals in protecting the basic needs and rights of the people. According to Bartlett, he and Arreguín are on the same page in regards to their political values.
During his brief time as a council member, Bartlett proposed the Step Up Housing project which aims to build 100 extra housing units for the homeless community in Berkeley.
Bartlett’s running mate Judy Appel is also from Berkeley, but she did not receive an endorsement from Mayor Arreguín. On her campaign page, Appel stated that she seeks to relieve the Bay Area’s homelessness, in addition to tackling the issues of education equity, health care rights and fairness in the criminal justice system.
Appel is a BUSD board member and served as a leader for the LGBTQ+ community as the Executive Director of Our Family Coalition, advocating for the safety of LGBTQ+ members. As director, she passed the Modern Family Act, providing LGBTQ+ couples rights and protection in a “pathway to parenthood.”
Initially reluctant on running, Bartlett said he felt the urge to address the people’s needs.
“When the seat opened up, people called me and I resisted to run for the race for many months,” Bartlett said. “In light of Trump’s budget cuts and the potential devastation on struggling people, I feel I had no choice but to go all out for our people.”
Bartlett said he possesses various attributes that qualify him for the position including, “creativity, innovative thought and deeply held conviction that the people deserve.”
As a state assembly member, Bartlett said he seeks to fulfill his goals of ensuring “racial equity and elimination of poverty. Everyone in East Bay deserves a home.”
State assembly elections take place every two years, the upcoming general election is set for Nov. 6, 2018.