Genesis does not endorse candidates. The intention of this post to educate and inform the voters of District 16.
On September 9th, 2018, from 7:30 to 8:30 in the afternoon, a candidate town hall was held at Congregation Beth Emek in Pleasanton, California, featuring Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (District 16) and her opponent, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan.
The meeting began as all town halls do: the candidates introduced themselves, spoke of their accomplishments, their goals, and their visions of the Tri-Valley under their leadership. Bauer-Kahan began with an emotional story of her grandparents and their journey to the states as refugees, from Europe, seeking protection from the Nazi Regime. She then mentioned her endorsements from the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood, among others. Assemblywoman Baker began by emphasizing the importance of obtaining results as an elected official, and “working across the aisle, whether inside party lines, or not”.
A dominating theme of the night was the prevalence of the incumbency advantage. As Assemblywoman Baker spoke and rebutted, she gave tangible solid pieces of evidence, talking about how because of her the “UCs [have had] to put California students first” and “have more rigorous accountability and reporting to the legislature, and not just reagents”, her vote for legislation that would help California set and meet more stringent climate change goals,
Just six minutes in, the meeting quickly began to heat up, with Bauer-Kahan stating that while she appreciated Assemblywoman Baker’s votes on the environment, “[voting] 40% of the time just [isn’t] good enough”, and accusing Baker of not “closing the loophole” of guns on school campuses, and “not voting for the semi-automatic ammunition ban”. Assemblywoman Baker quickly stood and asked for rebuttal time, and stated that she had fought against the expansion “of offshore oil drilling on the California coast, the protecting our national monuments…[continuing the protection of] the endangered species act…and the only republican to vote for SB100(the renewable energy portfolio).” She quickly moved on the offensive, and told the audience that though one often hears candidates announce endorsements, the endorsements are won by essentially pledging one’s vote to the endorsing organization. Bauer-Kahan responded by simply reiterating that a 43% grade from the Sierra Club meant voting with the environment merely 43% of the time.
Bauer-Kahan repeated multiple times, throughout her talk that she wouldn’t vote for special interests, but instead “vote for you”, and that she was an “open book”, as opposed to her opponent, “supported by Big Oil and other special interests”. Baker rebutted by stating that her opponent, if she was going to tout endorsements, should at least release her answers to her questionnaires. She then proceeded to tell the audience about Bauer-Kahan’s financials, noting that she mysteriously received $160,000 from three counties, merely a few days after the California Teachers Association wrote checks to those same counties. She closed her rebuttal by stating that one could not stand up to other interests in Sacramento, by receiving large amounts of support at the same time.
Interestingly enough, these short spars were filled with awkward/silly transitions, as the speakers, throughout the evening couldn’t seem to get their speaking orders, as one would sit while the other stood, and the panel would inform them, that their order was incorrect.
What action can be taken to prevent gun violence, especially in schools?
Bauer-Kahan quickly remarked that Baker would most likely have an excuse to excuse her voting to not close the loophole, allowing superintendents of school districts to keep guns on school campuses. She stated that “we needed someone who would be against guns 100% of the time” ironically citing her endorser, Moms Demand Action. Baker began by stating that she wanted to set the record straight, citing that she had, in her four years on legislature, authored and co-authored around 4 dozen common sense gun reform bills, including strengthening the assault weapons ban, to expand background checks for firearms and gun sales, the establishment(in her first year) of a gun violence research center at UC Davis, despite no such action being taken on the federal government’s part. She told the audience that she had an F with the NRA, had never taken a penny from them, while receiving money from Moms Demand Action, the group that her partner had cited as her endorsers. She then told the audience that her website had all of the bills she had written and co-authored(shade at opponent, as if asking”but why hasn’t she posted her answers to endorsement forms?”).
The real differentiation in their policy on guns came in with Baker stating that the she believes that Domestic Violence victims on school campuses with guns are okay as self defense, with Bauer-Kahan remarking that she wants no guns on campuses, ever.
She continued by stating that Baker voted for High Capacity Mags, using the same argument put forth by the NRA, and this was an indicator that the public needed someone that would vote with them and for their safety, 100% of the time. Baker began by stating that the high capacity magazine ban existed in California. She then stated that she “voted for the legislation that got rid of them in California”, put forth by Sen. Glazer, stating that it did in fact violate the takings clause (NRA argument), and was on its way to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The entire evening was dominated by Baker stating that audience members should avoid taking claims at face value. Bauer-Kahan’s motto seemed to be “I am an open book, I will vote with you”, whereas Baker wanted the audience to look into and really scrutinize Kahan’s statements. Kahan spoke generally with broad strokes and employing the “I’ll support and represent you” argument. Asm. Baker consistently brought facts and figures as evidence(logos), and attempted to let them do the talking, as opposed to Bauer Kahan’s pathos driven argument. Ironically, Kahan said that “no special interest will ever own [her]...ever”, despite Baker’s constant allusions to the fact that Bauer-Kahan was a puppet, owned by her endorsers.