Public Comment

Assembly District 14 Candidate Statement: Kriss Worthington

Thursday May 22, 2008 - 10:38:00 AM

Acknowledging my 40 years of progressive activism, when Jerry Brown was running for Attorney General he was asked “Would you say you have been a progressive Mayor of Oakland?” His answer: “We can’t all be Kriss Worthington.” 

As the most progressive candidate, I expect to have the least money for this campaign. I have the most elected experience, and am endorsed by the most democratic clubs and the most small newspapers, which may be why big corporate interests are funneling their money elsewhere. I have won prior elections thanks to wonderful volunteers and small contributions, despite opponents spending two and a half times as much money. I am especially delighted to be the only candidate to have the endorsements of the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Berkeley Daily Planet. 

As a teen activist, I volunteered with the peace movement, civil rights movement, and the United Farm Workers boycott, where I had the joy of working with Dolores Huerta, who has endorsed my Assembly campaign. I have walked hundreds of picket lines and done labor solidarity work for decades, including supporting the current boycott of the Woodfin Hotel. 

As a teacher for eight years, I know that education will be my number one priority, followed closely by saving the safety net of social services for seniors, low income and disabled residents. 

In 11 years of elected service promoting progressive policy, 98 percent of the progressive legislation I proposed was successfully adopted. These included hundreds of bills on a wide range of issues including but not limited to: labor, environment, seniors, racial diversity, disability, education, health care, peace, and justice, transportation, pro-choice, anti-death penalty, precautionary principle ordinance, zero waste ordinance, equal benefits ordinance, living wage ordinance, and making Berkeley the first City Council to endorse marriage equality. Currently I am still working to get a strong sunshine ordinance and sweat-free Berkeley ordinance. 

I have hired and appointed the most Asians and Latinos of any City Council member, and the most African Americans of any white City Council member. I have also fought for diversity in City staff and management hiring as well as in contracting. I have helped to organize strong community response to hate crimes and to other manifestations of racism, sexism, ageism, anti-Semitism, and anti-immigrant prejudice and discrimination. I am the first man in history ever honored by the Commission On The Status of Women for outstanding service in getting women hired, elected and appointed. 

In addition to policy victories I have helped move millions of dollars into progressive budget priorities, and helped do community organizing to save the safety net, by defeating numerous proposed cuts to human services. I helped win millions of local dollars for affordable housing, health care, youth and senior services. Along with extensive progressive experience on the local level, I also have significant involvement in Sacramento over the years. I testified at state Assembly and state Senate hearings against Arnold’s cuts to education and transportation. I helped organize rallies and trips to Sacramento. I support stop the spraying and have advocated for a strong response at the local and state levels. 

I am the only candidate to actively oppose Arnold’s 50,000 more prison beds, which will divert money from education and important human needs for the rest of our lives. While I do no think they will admit it was a mistake and reverse the decision, I am proposing a five year delay to give us time to show that alternatives like education and job training and drug rehab are both more moral, and more cost effective. 

My endorsements include Sierra Club; California State Labor Federation, AFL-CIO; Equality California; SEIU; Progressive Democrats of the East Bay, John George Democratic Club; East Bay LGBT Democrats; Cal Berkeley Democrats; Stonewall Democratic Club; San Francisco Bay Guardian; Berkeley Daily Planet; Bay Area Reporter; Victory Fund; East Bay Small Business Council; Unite HERE; UAW; AFSCME State Council, and Local 3299; International Association of Machinists, Local 1546; CUE; Engineers and Scientists of California, Local 20; Teamsters, Joint Council 7, and the most important endorsement of all, my partner Marty Spence! 

I am the only candidate to serve in a divided government with a “moderate” executive and have proven that progressives can win repeatedly when we stand up and fight back. When we have stood up and fought back against Arnold, we have often defeated his bad proposals or forced him to compromise. 

Who do you think Arnold would least like to have win this race?! 

If you want a truly grassroots activist State Assembly member who will use the office to do community organizing and coalition building, please support us at or come by our volunteer headquarters near University Avenue at 2047 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. (510) 604-2776. 

Thank you for reading this!