Democratic incumbent Buffy Wicks is running against Republican candidate Jeanne Solnordal and independent candidate Sara Brink to represent California State Assembly District 15 in the upcoming March primaries.
Wicks is the current representative of Assembly District 15 and is running for re-election. Solnordal’s platform focuses on decreasing taxation and expanding access to housing, while Brink’s campaign is centered on increasing democratic participation in the political system.
Wicks initially ran on a platform of addressing housing and homelessness issues, preventing gun violence and increasing funding for healthcare and education. According to her website, Wicks aims to continue and expand the progress she has made on those issues while in office.
During her time as the representative for Assembly District 15, Wicks proposed and co-authored a series of measures addressing issues of housing affordability. According to Wicks, she also secured $30 million for gun violence prevention programs and expanded CalFresh funding.
“In my first year in the Assembly we made historic progress for California,” Wicks said in an email. “I’m running for re-election because there’s so much more I want to do to find solutions to our housing and homelessness crisis, protect our environment, increase funding for public schools and universities, and so much more.”
Solnordal, a business owner with a background in law and finance, has different proposals to address the issues of homelessness and education. Solnordal is also a member of the Republican Party Central committees for Alameda and San Francisco.
In addition to homelessness and education, Solnordal’s platform also targets tax reform. She has proposed doubling the Child Tax Credit and preventing additional tax increases. According to her website, Solnordal aims to impose a moratorium on all tax increases for a minimum of two years.
“Our State Legislature doesn’t seem to understand that you have to work with businesses rather than constantly taxing them,” Solnordal said. “If we lower taxes, businesses can stay in the state and thrive, which will actually lead to greater tax revenue.”
Solnordal also noted the importance of addressing homelessness, drug issues and violence. Assembly District 15 contains the two cities with the highest crime rates in California, Solnordal added. She supports expanding the police force in these cities.
Solnordal’s proposals include expanding access to homeless shelters and increasing housing through providing funds for people to build on vacant lots. Solnordal added that she would want to fund additional services to address mental health and drug issues within the homeless population.
Brink, a filmmaker and political activist, decided to run for Assembly District 15 to raise awareness of the “lack of public participation” in the political system.
“People say democracy is open to anyone, but running for these positions isn’t actually open to the average person,” Brink said. “I want to show people that we need to rethink how our elections function.”
In her platform, Brink has proposed instituting publicly funded elections, which she said would level the playing field for candidates and limit the influence of money in politics.
As a method of increasing democratic participation, Brink has also proposed creating citizen oversight committees over legislation. These oversight committees, she added, could ensure that the people who will be impacted by new laws have influence over what those laws are.
Brink is documenting her campaign alongside friends in the film industry with the goal of shedding light on the process of running for office.
“It is obvious to me, having had to learn how to navigate this system through trial and error, that there’s just no resources to guide anyone into this process,” Brink said. “Because I’m not a professional political operative, I know the likelihood of my winning is very low. My goal is to open up more pathways for people to be able to follow me.”