Everything South City caught up with South San Francisco Councilmember and California State Assembly Candidate Kevin Mullin. Some of our readers questioned why Kevin was running, how the recent redistricting affected this race, and wanted a general overview of the role of Assemblyman for the 22nd District.
While many know Gene Mullin, former teacher, turned Councilmember, turned Assemblyman, people need to know, Kevin is not his Dad. He is own man with the added benefit of seeing firsthand the how and whys of the positions to which he was elected, and will be elected. The primary election is this June 5 and the general election is November 6. Here is Kevin’s reply in his own words to our questions.
“As many of you may know, I was first elected to the South San Francisco City Council in 2007, and reelected in November of 2011. I was Mayor of the City from December 2010 to December 2011. The Council has faced some significant challenges over the past four years, including the significant downturn in the economy, locally, statewide, nationally and internationally. We spent an inordinate amount of time doing budget work and successfully avoided laying off any of the City employees providing services to our community.
Beyond that, the tragic incidences of shootings in the Linden Avenue area and the section around Railroad Avenue led to a concerted effort to not only provide greater security for the residents through our Neighborhood Response Team special police unit, but to increase the outreach activities in the Old Town neighborhood through the creation of the Community Coalition on Safe Neighborhoods. Councilmembers and staff spent literally hundreds of hours devoted to these efforts beyond the on-going financial investment.
We’ve also had to cope with the state usurpation of redevelopment funds which will cost our community over $200 million in the next 30 years. South City has become a regional leader on providing affordable housing, encouraging transit-oriented, mixed use developments and creating a more walk-able and bike-able community. We will continue to pursue this approach to sustainable growth in spite of the elimination of redevelopment as an economic development and planning tool for local communities.
We are proud of our status as the birthplace of biotechnology and continue to embrace this industry and look forward to welcoming commuter ferry service this year at Oyster Point. We also have devoted considerable resources to the revitalization of our downtown, including opening the new downtown parking garage.
These activities were the focal points of my time on Council, but do not include the weekly and monthly issues which arise in a community of over 60,000 residents.
With respect to my campaign for the state Assembly, let me note a couple of issues about which ESC has made an inquiry. When I filed for re-election to a second term on Council, it is important to recall that the Assembly seat was not scheduled to be an open seat until 2014. With the redistricting process, the resulting change in numbers for Senate District 8 to an odd number (SD 13) moved that election from 2014 to 2012 and created the immediate vacancy as Assembly member Jerry Hill filed for the State Senate. All those changes were not finalized until well after the Council filing and election.
A couple of quick points beyond that; people running for higher office have no guarantees of success in the election, and even if successful I will still have a full year of service on City Council in my current term. Finally, now that South San Francisco has been redistricted and divided almost in half between the San Francisco Assembly district (19) and Assembly District 22 in San Mateo County, having a South City resident in a state seat becomes even more important to represent the interests of our community and northern San Mateo County, along with the interests of the balance of the County, the region and the entire state.
Let me conclude with ESC’s question on the role of an Assembly member. California is the world’s 8th largest economy with general fund expenditures nearing $100 billion (significantly lower than in the mid-2000’s), and a chronic budget deficit impacting state services across the board. The Legislature must approve an annual budget, balanced by the state Constitution requirements, and meet the principal function to protect the most important programs for state residents. That’s job one for all 120 members of the legislature and history has shown it is among the most difficult assignments of any state in the nation.
Legislators provide services for the constituents of each district (22nd AD has close to 500,000 residents), introduce up to a maximum of 40 bills over a two year period, and analyze and vote on some three to four thousand bills every two years. Each member will sit on up to six committees in their areas of expertise, where bills are vetted prior to reaching the floor of the Assembly or Senate. Members spend from four to five days weekly in Sacramento and the balance of the time in their home district offices; for most, a six day work week is standard and a seven day work week hardly unusual.
I look forward to a grassroots campaign in the June primary and again in the November general election. I will be talking on the campaign trail about my experience gained on the South San Francisco City Council and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and how being a lifetime resident of this city informs who I am and what issues are important to me. I will be a strong voice for South City and all of San Mateo County should I be fortunate enough to be elected to the State Assembly, and will be very active on the issues of job creation, the innovation economy, education and workforce development, and reforming our state’s budget and governance structures, so people might again have faith in the State Legislature to address California’s many serious challenges.”
For more information on Kevin’s Assembly Campaign please go to http://kevinmullin.com/site/about-kevin-mullin