Editorial: Appel's the one for AD 15
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The East Bay has never had an out state lawmaker but that could change this year. There are three LGB candidates running for the open 15th Assembly District seat. We think that Judy Appel is the best candidate, gay or straight, for the sprawling district that includes cities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
Appel may be familiar to readers as she used to be the executive director of Our Family Coalition, which advocates for LGBT children and families. She currently serves on the Berkeley school board.
In her editorial board meeting, Appel emphasized to us that education is her top priority; but that's more than just making sure state laws and policies are implemented, like the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act that calls for LGBT content in textbooks. Appel also wants to further anti-bullying programs, like one adopted by the Berkeley school board that includes specific language and information aimed at protecting LGBTQ students in public schools.
On housing - a major issue in the district and the Bay Area - Appel supports repeal of the Costa Hawkins rent control law and the Ellis Act, a state law that lets landlords take property off the rental market and evict tenants in the process. State voters may face a ballot initiative to repeal Costa Hawkins this fall. Appel thinks it should be replaced "with a new system to stem the tide of displacement and address the ongoing housing crisis," she wrote in her questionnaire.
She said that she spearheaded a partnership between the Berkeley school district and city to draft an affordable housing program for educators. She also supports researching a statewide rent control regulation that would provide a floor for rent control upon which local municipalities can build to meet the needs and priorities of their residents.
Appel is a lesbian parent of two kids, one of whom identifies as genderqueer. She knows first hand what it's like dealing with teachers and others to ensure that proper pronouns are used for her child. She has appointed LGBT people to represent her on commissions, including a queer person to the youth commission.
The 15th Assembly District is diverse and progressive. Appel has the skills to meet those challenges and the priorities that are in tune with East Bay voters.