Here’s how to vote for Berkeley’s local, state and national representatives

LOCAL AFFAIRS: Here are The Daily Californian's 2020 endorsements for Berkeley's local, state and national representatives

Photo of Elena Condes, Nancy Skinner, Barbara Lee, Buffy Wicks
From Left to Right, top: Elena Condes, Nancy Skinner From Left to Right, bottom: Barbara Lee, Buffy Wicks

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, both Berkeley and Alameda County need experienced and committed local, state and national officials. As a result, The Daily Californian endorses Elena Condes for Alameda County Superior Court judge, Nancy Skinner for state Senate, Buffy Wicks for state Assembly and Barbara Lee for the House of Representatives.

Condes’ prioritization of legal accessibility for all people regardless of what community they are from would enrich the Alameda County courts. Skinner brings her experience from her current term as a state senator as well as her clear empathy and understanding of local issues. Similarly, Wicks is an adept incumbent whose foundation of community activism and progressive mindset make her a natural fit. Finally, Barbara Lee has represented the East Bay since 1998 and her skillset is perfectly honed for another term. These are the representatives our area needs.


Elena Condes for Alameda County Superior Court judge Photo of Elena Condes

Both Mark Fickes and Elena Condes are excellent candidates. Both want to make Alameda County courts more accessible for low-income and marginalized communities. Both understand that inequalities can be entrenched by the justice system, and both want to utilize diversion programs and a judicial seat to establish a justice system that works for everyone. Both have been active in their respective communities and would bring a new perspective to the Alameda County court system.

However, we ultimately endorse Condes because of her desire to fight racial inequality and create opportunities. Condes has worked with the East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association to empower youth to seek an education and pursue involvement in the legal system, and she aims to reform the treatment of BIPOC within the justice system.

While Fickes has a more varied legal background, Condes should be elected because of her previous work within the community and her desire to equitably shift how people of color are treated in the Alameda County justice system.

Vote Elena Condes for judge of the Alameda County Superior Court.



Nancy Skinner for California State Senate District 9Photo of Nancy Skinner

Nancy Skinner is no stranger to the political playing field. Although she could not be reached for an interview, her years of experience and progressive agenda make her the clear choice for District 9.

The great diversity of the district requires someone who will advocate justice at the Capitol, and Skinner’s recent police reform bills prove that she will act on issues of concern. As a long-term Berkeley resident, she understands the dire need for housing. She has put forward bills to increase affordable housing, particularly for students, as well as moved to take power from corporations when it comes to buying foreclosed homes.

These actions, coupled with her dedication to environmental protections, are inspired by her active and spirited community and indicate that her reelection will mean we have a true leader looking out for our interests. 

Her Libertarian opponent, Jamie Dluzak, lacks concrete goals and plans. During a time when so many Californians are in need of support, a hands-off approach to government is the last thing we should be voting for. 

Vote Nancy Skinner for state Senate.


Buffy Wicks for California State Assembly District 15

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks is the best choice for District 15. While Wicks could not be reached for an interview, her platform overshadows that of her opponent.

Wicks’ extensive participation in and organization of community activism throughout her career will serve her well in a campaign based largely on equity and equal opportunity. The policies she has helped implement since being elected in 2018 — including legislation on housing and health care — demonstrate her dedication to the well-being of her constituents. The bills she has sponsored are also notably progressive, forwarding frameworks for green transportation in the Bay Area and much-needed housing reform.

While her independent opponent, Sara Brink, offers an interesting perspective on some general flaws of the current political system, Wicks presents clearer and more cohesive steps forward for District 15 over the next two years. 

Wicks’ plans for her second term as assemblymember — to pursue equal opportunity, promote disability rights, fight for criminal justice, tackle homelessness and address climate change, among other key platforms — are reasonable, comprehensive and pointed, providing the balance of stability and progress District 15 needs.

Vote Buffy Wicks for state Assembly.


Photo of Barbara LeeBarbara Lee for Congress District 13

Barbara Lee has been the East Bay’s choice for the U.S. House of Representatives for more than two decades, and she is still the clear choice. 

A champion for progressive causes, she’s advanced policies regarding LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, criminal justice reform and more. She was the only vote against the use of military force after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, and she has continued to advance anti-war policies. Lee has worked tirelessly on coronavirus and wildfire relief efforts against Republican opposition. Time and time again, Lee has shown that she stands for her beliefs and her constituents.

Her opponent, Nikka Piterman, has never held office and lacks concrete plans for many key issues. Instead, his platform includes cutting taxes for all Americans, splitting California into two states and establishing colonies on the moon and Mars. He’s promoted QAnon conspiracy theories on his Twitter account and repeated disrespectful talking points regarding transgender athletes. 

Piterman’s views are dangerous, and they don’t represent our district.

Vote Barbara Lee for Congress.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board as written by the fall 2020 opinion editor, Katherine Shok.