California Secretary of State Alex Padilla endorses Buffy Wicks for state Assembly District 15

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California Secretary of State Alex Padilla endorsed Buffy Wicks over 11 other candidates for the state Assembly District 15 seat Thursday.

In the statement released Thursday, Padilla said Wicks has been a “lifelong community organizer” who prioritizes voting rights and civic engagement. She is also endorsed by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and gun-violence prevention advocate Gabby Giffords, among others.

“I wholeheartedly endorse Buffy Wicks for state Assembly,” Padilla said in the statement. “She is a strong, progressive leader who will get results on the public policies we all care about — affordable housing, better education, public transportation and more.”

Wicks’ platform includes addressing housing costs through increasing construction of low-income, middle-income and market-rate housing, paying teachers more and investing in early childhood education, allocating more resources for public transportation and reducing fossil fuels by supporting renewable energy and incentivizing electric cars.

“Her platform is basically in line with the other candidates,” fellow District 15 candidate Owen Poindexter said. “I think she’s relatively to the right on a couple issues.”

Wicks is moderate for the East Bay, Poindexter said. He noted that she is the only candidate running for District 15 who plans to reform, not repeal, the Costa–Hawkins Rental Housing Act — a state law that prevents cities from establishing rent control.

According to Poindexter, the endorsement was a nice boost to Wicks’ candidacy, but he does not know how much it will matter.

District 15 candidate Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto said she believes that the secretary of state should stay out of campaigns altogether.

“I am not surprised that Secretary Padilla endorsed Buffy Wicks, as she was a leader in Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Pardue-Okimoto said, noting that Padilla had campaigned with Clinton in Los Angeles the day before the 2016 primary election. “That just seems like a conflict of interest to me.”

Wicks said she admires Padilla as a state and national leader for voter enfranchisement and cited his efforts to implement automatic voter registration.

“I’m honored by it,” Wicks said in response to the endorsement. “He knows that I have the leadership skills and the relationships and the ability to be an effective leader in Sacramento.”

Contact Alyssa Bernardino at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @alybernardino.