Andy Kelley, vice chair of the Alameda County Democratic Party and an Alameda County planning commissioner, is running for the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board this November.
Kelley says he is running for the rent board to expand affordable housing, help community members struggling to pay rent and preserve Berkeley’s diverse community.
According to Kelley, witnessing his friends being priced out of the city motivated him to run for the rent board.
Kelley was chosen to run on the pro-tenant slate earlier this month at the Berkeley Tenant Convention. Currently, Kelley has been endorsed by Mayor Jesse Arreguín, Vice Mayor Sophie Hahn, the Berkeley Tenants Union and City Councilmembers Rigel Robinson, Kate Harrison, Ben Bartlett and Lori Droste.
Kelley said his varied housing situations contributed to his understanding of tenant protections.
“I’ve experienced what different situations can be like both with and without rent control and eviction protections,” Kelley said in an email. “We are at a moment with record high unemployment in our community due to Covid and record high rents are placing a huge strain on students, young professionals and working families.”
Kelley is a UC Berkeley alumnus who graduated in 2010 with a degree in political economics and public policy. Initially an intern for the ASUC external affairs vice president’s office, Kelley went on to serve as a UC Student Association board member and later worked on the Courage Campaign, a progressive advocacy organization, to fight for marriage equality and the repeal of Proposition 8.
Kelley also formerly was co-chair of Berkeley’s Measure O and P campaigns, chair of the Berkeley Public Works Commission and a board member of the Northern Alameda County Group of the Sierra Club.
Today, Kelley represents the city and Assembly District 15 on the Alameda County Democratic Party and serves as Alameda County Board of Supervisors member Keith Carson’s appointee to the Alameda County Planning Commission.
According to Kelley, his developing platform currently includes expanding and defending affordable housing, strengthening rent protections, closing loopholes and engaging with community members with the highest risk of displacement.
If elected to the rent board, Kelley wants to expand its reach and better inform tenants of their rights by encouraging the rent board to develop partnerships with other agencies to increase outreach and education about available services and protections.
Kelley also wants to “modernize” the rent board by making materials and information available online and in more accessible formats. Finally, he wants to work with students and the co-op community to help with awareness of rent board services and support.
“I hope to be an advocate and voice for our communities,” Kelley said in the email.
Kelley is a part of the Berkeley Tenants Union’s pro-tenant slate.