Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín endorses Judy Appel’s state Assembly campaign

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Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín has endorsed Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education Vice President Judy Appel in the state Assembly District 15 race, according to a Monday press release.

Appel is the second candidate whom Arreguín has endorsed in the District 15 race — Arreguín also lent his support to Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett. Appel, however, is confident in her campaign.

“There’s only one seat,” Appel said. “And I’m going to hold it.”

Arreguín cited his and Appel’s past work together in strengthening the partnership between city government and schools in his decision to endorse Appel, according to the press release. He also praised Appel for her work advocating for equity and justice in the district.

“We need a leader with a proven track record of delivering for our district and who represents our progressive values,” Arreguín said in the press release. “We need Judy in Sacramento.”

Appel’s platforms include advocating for greater educational equity, tackling homelessness, expanding health care and reforming the criminal justice system.

Appel said she has spent more than 25 years as a social justice advocate, served as the executive director of the California School-Based Health Alliance — an organization that seeks to advance health services in schools — and served as an attorney at the Drug Policy Alliance. She is currently serving her second term on the school board.

“The thing that I bring is deep experience on all of the issues that this community cares about,” Appel said. “That sets me apart from any of my opponents.”

Eleven other candidates are vying to replace Assemblymember Tony Thurmond for Assembly District 15, including campus sophomore Pranav Jandhyala, the only Republican in the race.

Primary elections will be held June 5. Of the 12 candidates in the race for Assembly District 15, the two who receive the most votes will square off in the general election Nov. 6.

“I believe that Jesse Arreguín has come on board to my campaign because he too is committed to bringing about progressive change and doing that through unity,” Appel said.

Contact Sam Levin at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SamJLevin.