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2022 Election: Redwood City Mayor Giselle Hale joins race for Peninsula state Assembly seat

Hale has been on the city council for four years after fours years as a planning commissioner

January 11, 2022, The Mercury News

REDWOOD CITY — Mayor Giselle Hale announced Tuesday she’s running for the redrawn Assembly District 21 seat representing the Peninsula in a race that’s already drawn two other council members from nearby cities.

Hale’s announcement comes in the wake of political shifting among Peninsula politicos after U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier said she’ll retire in November. Speier’s announcement prompted Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, whose previous district now is part of new District 21, to run for her congressional seat. Meanwhile, South San Francisco Councilman James Coleman and San Mateo Councilwoman Diane Papan also have said they’ll run for the new District 21. San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine was rumored to be running but said Monday he is not considering it.

Assembly District 21, as recently re-drawn by the California Citizen Redistricting Commission, encompasses eastern San Mateo County and includes the cities of Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Millbrae, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo and portions of South San Francisco.

Hale has been involved in Redwood City politics for the past eight years — four of them as councilwoman — and was last re-elected in 2018 as the top vote getter. She became mayor in December 2021, and while on the council has been a strong advocate for local families and marginalized communities.

Before being elected to the council, Hale served on the Redwood City Planning Commission and on the Board of the Redwood City Education Foundation. She was also on the leadership advisory team for the National Partnership for Women and Families, working to secure sick days and parental leave for working parents across the country.

Giselle Hale was the top vote-getter in 2018 Redwood City City Council race. She is running for the District 21 California Assembly seat. (Photo Credit: Erin Ashford)

“San Mateo County faces major challenges and we need results-oriented, forward-looking leaders – not typical politicians,” Hale said. “I’ve built a record of delivering for our community on issues that matter.”

Hale was reared in the Midwest by a single mother with three girls, subsisting on food stamps and the support of social service programs. She said in an interview Monday she started working when she was 15 to help support her family and would’ve been “left behind if we didn’t have a good public safety net.”

To help Peninsula families survive in a region with an affordable housing crisis, Hale said she wants to focus her campaign on building sustainable affordable housing, keeping long-time residents from being displaced and working to create a child care system that will help working families.

As a councilwoman, Hale fought for passage of a state law that allowed Redwood City to open a safe parking lot for residents living in RVs and oversized vehicles parked on the street.

If elected to the Assembly, Hale wants to expand on those protections for RV dwellers and help unhoused Peninsula residents get the services they need.

Hale is a strong supporter of the massive mixed-use development being proposed for Sequoia Station in downtown Redwood City, a transit-oriented project she said should be a model for other Peninsula cities because it’ll help take cars off the road and reduce carbon emissions.

As a mother, Hale also is supporting a regional initiative for child care. While on the council she pushed for having a child-care center at the proposed Sequoia Station development, and helped to raise $5 million in private and public funds to keep 200 child care providers in business who didn’t qualify for most government assistance programs.

She said longtime Peninsula Rep. Anna Eshoo, state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, are endorsing her.

Christine Padilla, executive director of Build Up San Mateo County — an initiative to grow and improve the supply of early care and education in the county — worked with Hale on the Child Care Relief Fund during the early coronavirus pandemic. She and Hale met weekly for about a year to raise the funds.

“She’s very action-oriented, and that’s what I look for in an elected official,” Padilla said. “When she sees a problem she wants to get to work right away. It’s not ‘let’s meet again and again.’ It’s very much driven by goals and getting things done. We didn’t mess around.”

Padilla said she sees Hale’s passion as a strong advocate for kids and families.

“I trust her to be vocal and not sort of sit by,” Padilla said. “If she was in the Assembly, she would rise to the occasion and get things happening in a timely manner. I think that’s what we need right now: someone who is bold and brave.”


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