Hale told Patch why she should represent the 21st Assembly District, which is open after Kevin Mullin declined to seek reelection.
Eric He, Patch Staff, May 17, 2022, Patch
Giselle Hale is running for the 21st Assembly District seat. (Kristin Borden/Patch)
SAN MATEO COUNTY, CA — Giselle Hale, the mayor of Redwood City, is running to represent the 21st Assembly District, a redrawn district held by the outgoing Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco).
In a game of local political musical chairs, the seat is open after Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) announced he wouldn't seek reelection and instead run to represent the area in Congress, with Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) stepping away from her seat after this year.
The redrawn district is similar to what was referred to previously as the 22nd District, stretching from South San Francisco to East Palo Alto.
The moves mean a majority of the Peninsula will have fresh representation in both the state Assembly and Congress for the first time in more than a decade, as Mullin has held the seat since 2012.
Hale is one of seven candidates running for the open seat. The primary is June 7, narrowing the field to two candidates before the Nov. 8 general election.
Learn more about Hale and her goals for the district as voters cast their ballots before and on Election Day June 7th in the following exclusive Q&A with Patch.
Family My husband Brian and I have two young daughters.
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government? No.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin and received my MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona.
Occupation I have built an impressive career as a businesswoman, owning my own small business as well as working for major companies. I've held senior and leadership positions, building and leading diverse, high-performing teams. I am also an alumnus of President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, where I was part of a small California team that played an essential role in helping build the field organization in battleground states. Like so many others, I put my own career on hold when the pandemic hit. I was forced to shut down my small business to help navigate virtual learning with a special needs student.
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office
I have been on the Redwood City Council since 2018 and currently serve as mayor.
Campaign website www.gisellehale.com
Why are you seeking elective office? I am running for Assembly because our community and state face big challenges, and we need leaders who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to deliver common sense solutions. We need leaders who understand the issues that face our local families and who care about delivering results, not just scoring political points.
I was inspired to serve by my life experiences. I want to help ensure local families and future generations have the same opportunities to succeed that I did. I know firsthand that "no" is not an option for working families, seniors or anyone who starts each day wondering how to feed their family, pay their bills or keep loved ones safe.
As a community leader and elected official, my actions have resulted in real progress on problems that felt insurmountable. I have built a record of hard work, collaboration and effectiveness, with the courage to take on tough problems – and getting things done. I want to take that same approach to Sacramento and make a difference for people across San Mateo County and California.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post? In the Assembly, I will be the most effective advocate for our community of any of the candidates in the race and I am the only candidate who you can count on to have a vision and the commitment to deliver on key issues.
I will always stand by my core principles, but I will work to make progress. It's why I have earned the sole endorsement of California Environmental Voters, the Democratic Women's Legislative Caucus and California Teachers Association, as well as Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Treasurer Fiona Ma and more.
The other major candidates in the race are also elected officials, but none of them have built a list of accomplishments that can compare to mine. In more than seven years serving Redwood City and our region, I have made progress on problems that felt insurmountable by bringing groups together and finding solutions. During the pandemic, I joined forces with childcare advocates across San Mateo County to champion the San Mateo County COVID Childcare Relief Fund, providing $5 million in funding to nearly 300 childcare programs in San Mateo County. I worked to update Redwood City's climate action plan, created a green purchasing policy and championed new construction policies to reduce gas usage.
I championed an "E-bikes for Everyone" program for low-income individuals to get access to clean e-bikes. The three-year program sold out in five days and we have now doubled the funding.
I worked with Assemblymember Kevin Mullin to pass a bill in the legislature to modernize how local elected officials can communicate with the public online (AB 992) so that officials can be more accessible to residents. The bill was signed into law by Governor Newsom in 2020.
And I worked with Assemblymember Phil Ting to change a state law that would allow RVs to park 24/7 in safe parking areas (AB2553), getting them off neighborhood streets, which now every city in California can leverage to create similar zones. And those are just a few examples.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform. Protecting our environment and combating climate change This is perhaps the greatest challenge for our future and California must continue to be a worldwide leader as we approach the tipping point and see more and more real world impacts.
In San Mateo County and the Bay Area, I have led efforts to protect the environment for future generations. I worked to update Redwood City's climate action plan, created a green purchasing policy, championed new construction policies to reduce gas usage, and I serve on the Executive Board of Peninsula Clean Energy where we are ambitiously tackling a 24/7 clean energy goal.
In the Assembly, I will continue to fight for smarter environmental policies, working for clean air and water, addressing drought conditions with water conservation programs, helping lead the equitable transition to a green economy and clean energy and addressing climate change.
Creating opportunity for California's families and children I was raised by a single mother, facing food and housing insecurity and often relying on social programs to get by. Education was my path to success. I want to make sure my own kids and every student in California have the same opportunity. That's why I have worked to support public education even before I had kids of my own and our schools will be one of my top priorities in the Assembly.
Although California has made significant investments in education over the last two years, we must continue to raise our per pupil education spending. I will advocate for increasing overall funding to make California among the top states in the nation for per pupil spending. I know how systemic funding inequities hit kids in the most need the hardest, so I will also fight for policies that ensure equity.
Every student deserves a top-quality education, no matter who they are or where they live. That includes programs that give kids an early start, such as free, universal pre-K and other high quality early learning programs, as well as making higher education more affordable.
Finally, I will always be a voice for the most vulnerable kids, supporting programs that provide mental health services in our public schools and ensuring programs for students with special needs are prioritized.
Helping our kids also means helping ensure their parents can care for them. Kids with access to daycare and preschool have better outcomes than those who don't. As a working mother, childcare has long been something that I deeply care about. In Redwood City, I held developers accountable for producing new childcare seats in their developments. And I was an advisor with the National Partnership for Women and Families, helping to secure sick days and parental leave for workers across the country.
During the pandemic, I focused on childcare recovery. I joined forces with childcare advocates across San Mateo County to champion the San Mateo County COVID Childcare Relief Fund, providing $5 million in funding to nearly 300 childcare programs in San Mateo County, ensuring thousands of kids had proper care in these difficult times – and their parents could keep their jobs.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job? As I mentioned above, I have a track record of effectiveness and accomplishments on tough issues. From climate change to housing to childcare and education, I am proud of my accomplishments and my ability to bring people together. I have the ability to take that same approach to Sacramento and make a difference for people across San Mateo County and California.
The best advice ever shared with me was:
"You are either ripening or rotting." This was told to me by my first manager. I don't believe in being content. I work tirelessly on whatever I do.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions? I was raised by a single mother in the Midwest after my parents divorced, my family faced food and housing insecurity and often relied on social programs to get by. I have a deep, personal understanding of the issues that too many local families face daily.
With the support of my parents and teachers, along with hard work and perseverance, education was my pathway to success. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin and received my MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona.
Like me, my husband Brian grew up struggling and living in poverty and was in-and-out of the foster care system for several years. We both could have been left behind if not for the generosity of our extended family, communities, and the support of the social safety net.
I am running for Assembly to help ensure local families and future generations have the same opportunities as I did. Our community and state face big challenges, and we need leaders who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to deliver common sense solutions. We need leaders who understand the issues that face our local families and who care about delivering results, not just scoring political points.
I believe in equality, equity and standing up for working families and the most vulnerable in our community. And I am also a pragmatist. As an elected official, my job is to solve problems and actually make progress on issues and that requires collaboration, hard work, out of the box thinking and sometimes compromise. I also believe that we can help people and have a strong economy. We can support businesses and protect workers. These are false choices that we can move past.