In his 11-plus years on City Council, Kriss Worthington has been such an effective leader on so many issues that it would be easy to come up with a list of well over a hundred reasons he’s earned my support in his bid for a state Assembly seat. Here are just 10 of them:
1. Education. Kriss is a former teacher who has worked hard to protect funding for education on all levels, from locally to statewide to nationally. He’s already spent more time in Sacramento lobbying successfully against Schwarzenegger’s attempted cuts to education than all his opponents combined. ASUC President Van Nguyen says Kriss will be “California’s most student-friendly assemblymember.” His record shows he’ll fight hard to improve our public school system and to keep student fees affordable for higher education.
2. Progressive Legislation. Kriss has a proven track record of passing progressive pieces of legislation that serve as models for cities across the country. He has many more years of experience crafting legislation than any of his opponents, with a remarkable 98 percent success rate. The Precautionary Principle Initiative protects our health and the environment. The Eco-Pass has been wildly successful at getting cars off the road, and the Zero Waste Ordinance keeps us at the forefront of environmental policy in the fight against global warming, while other cities emulate the Living Wage Ordinance, the Worker Retention Ordinance, and the Equal Benefits Ordinance to bring greater justice to working people.
3. The Environment. Not only has Kriss sponsored groundbreaking legislation on the environment, he also served as a local Sierra Club chair even before he was councilmember and is endorsed by the Sierra Club. His leadership on the environment won him the respect of environmental legend David Brower and continues to inspire on-the-ground activists. He works with environmental activists and organizations to build winning coalitions to advance the cause on local, regional, and state levels. Supervisor Keith Carson selected Kriss to fill in for him on the Transportation Authority “because I know I can count on Kriss to keep the environment at the forefront in allocating our transportation resources.”
4. Diversity. Kriss doesn’t just talk about diversity; he lives it. He’s committed to bringing all of our voices into the political process. He’s served as a board member of NOW, the NAACP, and the East Bay LGBT Democratic Club. The Commission on the Status of Women honored Kriss for his “outstanding service on behalf of the women of Berkeley,” the only man ever so honored, and he’s been passionate not only about appointing women and other underrepresented people to Berkeley’s commissions but encouraging other councilmembers to step up to the plate and make appointments that reflect the true richness of the diverse East Bay.
5. Small Business. Kriss is the only candidate with the endorsement of the East Bay Small Business Council, because of his strong support over the years for hundreds of small businesses, where most new jobs are created. He’ll insist on a tax code that protects small businesses and the middle class, while making sure millionaires and big corporations pay their fair share.
6. Human Services. Kriss has increased services to veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities, secured funding for a center for homeless youth, and expanded healthcare coverage for children, single mothers, and working families. He’s 100 percent committed to passing single-payer healthcare in Sacramento—and getting it funded. All his life he’s fought to make sure that no one gets left behind, and he has the backbone to stand up to Schwarzenegger’s proposed cuts to essential services for those who can least afford them.
7. Clean Money. Kriss’s campaign isn’t financed by huge contributions from big-money interests, unlike others. As the volunteer treasurer for Kriss’s campaign, I’ve gotten a window into the money behind those glossy flyers flooding your mailbox as the election approaches. Check out http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/campaign and search for the candidates by last name to see who’s contributing what to whom. I think you’ll find it eye-opening.
8. An Independent Voice. Kriss will be an independent progressive voice in Sacramento. Just as in Berkeley, where he’s secured millions of dollars to get more affordable housing built along transit corridors while protecting neighborhood quality of life, Kriss will never be beholden to big, profit-driven developers. He’ll make passing Clean Money a top legislative priority so that more of our elected officials will be free of the pressures brought to bear by big-money contributors, including large developers, big landlords, and the insurance industry.
9. No on 98: Kriss is the only candidate with No on 98/Yes on 99 on all his campaign literature. The anti-tenant, anti-environment, anti-neighborhood Proposition 98 is one of the most dangerous Constitutional amendments to appear on the ballot in years; it would gut rent control, erode environmental protections, and likely undermine most zoning standards that protect neighborhoods. Kriss has been a leader in the campaign to defeat it.
10. Pro-Neighborhood: Kriss understands that to create and maintain healthy neighborhoods we need to focus on crime watch, disaster preparedness, and improving infrastructure. As councilmember, he’s shown a willingness to focus on the nitty-gritty details of potholes and storm drains without losing the big picture of passing visionary legislation on the environment, workers’ rights, and open government. As a neighborhood leader, I’ve been impressed with how Kriss has been there for us time and again, whether the issue is getting more funding for police or emergency preparedness, or taking care of our neighborhood parks and making sure we receive our fair share of allocations for street repair. Once he’s in the state Legislature, it’s clear he won’t lose track of the small details that affect our daily quality of life.
Please join me in voting for Kriss Worthington for the state Assembly!
Nancy Carleton is a recognized leader on crime watch, disaster preparedness, greening projects, and community building in the Halcyon neighborhood. She’s also the volunteer treasurer for Kriss’s Assembly campaign.