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Two underlying dynamics are at work in the East Bay race to represent Assembly District 15 in Sacramento. One is a contest between a traditional big-money campaign and an insurgent, volunteer-driven, grassroots campaign. The other is a subterranean racial dynamic. The campaign between out Black lesbian, eight-year Richmond City Council member Jovanka Beckles, 55, and campaign professional Buffy Wicks, 41, is increasingly testy. The Assembly seat was previously occupied by Tony Thurmond. If Beckles is not elected, the East Bay African American community will have no representative in Sacramento.
This year’s primary contest to replace Tony Thurmond as Assembly District 15 representative in Sacramento produced what one local political observer called “the strongest field in California legislative history.” The “all-star” cast of talented public servants included six serving members of East Bay city councils or elected boards. Most of those who did not succeed in their primary campaigns have since rallied around one of their own, Richmond City Council member Jovanka Beckles, a leader of the Richmond Progressive Alliance.
As we head toward the Democratic National Convention, I often hear the question, “What does Bernie want?” Wrong question. The right question is what the 12 million Americans who voted for a political revolution want. And the answer is: They want real change in this country, they want it now and they are prepared to take on the political cowardice and powerful special interests which have prevented that change from happening.
Sen. Sanders, you have spoken out against the depredations of Big Pharma, refused to take donations from any of them, and call for “Medicare for all.” You’ve also spoken to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Currently in Pennsylvania there is a case before a federal court which embodies both of these battles, Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes. Mumia Abu-Jamal is suing to force the Department of Corrections to immediately provide him treatment with the Hep C drug.