Bauters, Normand snag EQCA endorsements in East Bay races

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday January 10, 2024
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Alameda County Board of Supervisors candidate John Bauters, left, and Alameda County Board of Education Trustee Angela Normand were endorsed by Equality California January 10. Photos: Courtesy the candidates
Alameda County Board of Supervisors candidate John Bauters, left, and Alameda County Board of Education Trustee Angela Normand were endorsed by Equality California January 10. Photos: Courtesy the candidates

Two out candidates for offices in the East Bay secured backing from Equality California Wednesday in the statewide LGBTQ rights group's first endorsements of 2024.

Emeryville City Councilmember John Bauters, a gay man running for District 5 on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, was endorsed, as was Trustee Angela Normand, a lesbian running for reelection on the Alameda County Board of Education.

Bauters is in a highly competitive race for the open District 5 seat, which includes the cities of Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Piedmont, and West Oakland, North Oakland, Rockridge, Grand Lake, and portions of the Fruitvale, Manzanita, and Dimond District neighborhoods. It became open when current Supervisor Keith Carson announced in December that he would not seek reelection.

Bauters told the Bay Area Reporter that he's pleased with the endorsement.

"I'm thrilled that our campaign has earned the strong support of Equality California and other partners in our community," he stated. "Across the Bay Area, LGBTQ+ people remain underrepresented in county government — and Alameda County has never elected an out LGBTQ+ supervisor. I've spent my career as a victims' advocate and a city councilmember fighting for marginalized and underserved communities — on the Board of Supervisors, I'll continue that work and be a visible voice for not just LGBTQ+ people, but the many diverse communities which make Alameda County beautiful."

Among the nine people running are Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett, Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, Alameda County Board of Education Trustee Ken Berrick, former Oakland mayoral candidate Gregory Hodge, and Piedmont resident Lorrel Plimier, an attorney and computer scientist. It is unlikely that any candidate will receive more than 50% of the vote on March 5 in order to win the seat outright, thus it is expected that the top two vote-getters in the primary will square off again on the November 5 ballot.

Should Bauters win, he would be the first out gay man elected as a supervisor in Alameda County. Since mid-December Bauters has secured the support of more than 30 local leaders for his supervisorial bid, with Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) endorsing him January 3, as the Bay Area Reporter's online Political Notes column recently reported.

Jennifer Esteen, a gay woman and registered nurse, is running for the District 4 seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors against incumbent Nate Miley. She was previously endorsed by EQCA.

Normand is seeking reelection to the Area 2 seat on the county education board. It includes the city of Alameda, a small northeast portion of San Leandro north of Dutton Avenue, and the northwestern portion of Oakland, including West Oakland, Uptown, and a part of Jack London Square. She was first elected in 2020.

Normand was also pleased with EQCA's endorsement

"We are honored to have earned the support of a leading California LGBTQ+ organization in our reelection campaign," stated Normand in an email. "In this time of rising discrimination towards LGBTQ+ students, teachers, and faculty in our schools, it is critical to have visible queer leadership in our education spaces. I am honored to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with EQCA and other LGBTQ+ organizations locally and statewide as we continue the work to protect our students, and ensure our schools are safe and welcoming spaces for all."

Tony Hoang, a gay man who's executive director of EQCA, praised all the candidates endorsed Wednesday.

"We are thrilled to endorse these pro-equality candidates at all levels of government," he stated. "The challenges we continue to face in creating a world that is just and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people demand that we elect pro-equality lawmakers and leaders that will work to defend our community's hard-fought gains, as well as continue to pave new ground in the ongoing fight for full, lived equality."

In addition to Bauters and Normand, other out candidates EQCA endorsed are San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, a gay man who's seeking reelection; Ethan Weaver, a gay man and a Los Angeles deputy city attorney who's running for the District 4 Los Angeles City Council seat; and John Erickson, Ph.D., a gay man who's seeking reelection to the West Hollywood City Council.

Updated, 1/10/24; This article has been updated with a comment from Angela Normand.

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