As the June 5 primary election approaches, it might be easy to overlook the state and federal seats that represent Petaluma. While these races have garnered little attention, Petalumans will still see on their ballot candidates for State Assembly and Congress.
The reason these contests have flown under the radar is partly because the incumbents have done such a commendable job that no viable challenger has emerged in these solidly left-leaning districts. Nonetheless, each incumbent faces nominal challengers, so it is incumbent upon the voters to turn out and support them for reelection.
Jared Huffman for Congress
Rep. Jared Huffman has been a reliable ally for Petaluma causes, despite the increasingly caustic atmosphere in Washington. Huffman has made headway on local issues, like securing initial funding to study dredging the Petaluma River and finding money for the SMART commuter train.
But Huffman’s main raison d’etre has emerged as being a leader of the movement to resist the Trump administration, which is a necessary role given the utter train wreck of this administration.
Huffman, an environmental lawyer and former state assemblyman, cringes with the rest of us in his blue district at the gutting of Obama-era environmental regulations and depletion of the Environmental Protection Agency. If Democrats win the House in November, Huffman will have even more tools to help curb the carnage.
Huffman faces two perennial candidates from Humboldt County who have never held elected office — Dale Mensing, a Republican grocery store clerk, and Democrat Andy Caffrey, a progressive activist. He will likely face Mensing in the November election because Mensing is the only candidate with an R next to his name.
Voters looking to be part of the predicted electoral wave that sends a strong rebuke to President Trump this November should send Huffman back to Washington to continue his fight. The Argus-Courier recommends Jared Huffman for Congress.
Marc Levine for Assembly
Marc Levine has started to find his footing as a mature legislator as he seeks his fourth term in the State Assembly. The San Rafael Democrat spent much of the beginning of his first six years in office authoring gimmicky legislation addressing niche problems. Bills allowing selfies at the ballot box and ensuring models are not underweight certainly received attention and raised Levine’s profile, but it is the work he has done in the past two years, especially since the October wildfires, that has had a bigger impact.
Levine has recently worked on mental health issues to prevent suicides, taken on the National Rifle Association by making some assault weapons harder to purchase, championed environmental legislation, and convened an Assembly committee on natural disaster response.
Levine’s challenger, Dan Monte, is a San Rafael Democrat who is positioned to Levine’s left. While he champions progressive causes, Monte, a former contractor and paratransit bus driver, lacks legislative experience or the centrism needed to work with all sides of the political spectrum.
We like to see Levine hit his stride in Sacramento, and we think he can be effective if given another two-year term. For these reasons, the Argus-Courier recommends Marc Levine for State Assembly.