Cook-Kallio, a longtime Pleasanton resident, teaches civics, government and American history at Irvington High School in Fremont. She was first elected to the City Council in 2006, and then again in 2010.
She is competing in the election for mayor with fellow Councilman Jerry Thorne, who is also in the second year of his final four-year term on the council. So far, they are the only two seeking the mayor's post which is being vacated this year by Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, who is completing the final year of the eight years allowed under Pleasanton's term limits law.
Supporters of Cook-Kallio filled the home and outside patio of the home of Amirra and Dr. Basil Besh on Club House Drive, the road leading to the Callippe Preserve golf course clubhouse. Her supporters include a long list of state, civic, county and city leaders, including Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, Assembly members Joan Buchanan and Bob Wieckowski, who represent Pleasanton, Mayor Tim Sbranti of Dublin and former Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena.
"The upcoming mayor's race is critical to the future of Pleasanton," Cook-Kallio said. "It will determine the direction of our city for the next 10 years and beyond. I am running for mayor to ensure Pleasanton has the strong, proactive leadership required to make decisions critical to our future."
"Quality of life is very important to us all," she added. "The city has to be financially sustainable. This means that we all work together to make sure that we maintain needed city services and continue to maintain a safe community.
"I understand economics and what is important to all of us," she continued. "As mayor, I will take steps to ensure that we make sound fiscal decisions and maintain a healthy reserve while continuing those things that make Pleasanton a wonderful place to live. We want people to live, work and shop in Pleasanton."
She said that because of recent court-ordered and state government imposed rulings, the city has rezoned more than 75 acres of vacant land to accommodate low- to middle-income high density housing.
"As you know the city does not build housing, we only zone for it," she reminded supporters at her election campaign rally. "But once zoned, they will come. It is critical that we plan well and within the law. We can be smart about this. As mayor, I will make sure that all stakeholders are educated in what this means and are involved in the decision making process."
She said that as a public school teacher for more than 35 years, she also understands the impact this housing will have on the city's schools. As a member of the joint city-school liaison committee, she works closely with the school district to find ways both government agencies can cooperate to strengthen the quality of public education in Pleasanton.
"As mayor, I will have a unique insight to the issues facing our city, including locating property and funding for the 10th elementary school when needed," Cook-Kallio said.
Other priorities Cook-Kallio mentioned are the completion of the Stoneridge Drive extension to El Charro Road, which she supported and that is now nearing completion; widening State Route 84 across Pigeon Pass to provide an expressway-type link between I-580 and I-680, thereby reducing cut-through commuter traffic through Pleasanton; and connecting El Charro Road from 580 to Stanley Boulevard.
"This will take a proactive approach," Cook-Kallio said. "I have those critical relationships with the business community and with surrounding elected officials whose cooperation we will need to gain the necessary approvals and funding."
"This election is about issues and effectiveness," she added. "It is about who has the ability and the relationships to get the job done."
Pleasanton's municipal election will be held along with the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 6. In addition to Cook-Kallio and Thorne vying for the mayor's post, two candidates have also launched campaigns for seats on the City Council. Planning Commission Chairman Jerry Pentin and Realtor Karla Brown are seeking election to the two seats that will open as council members Cindy McGovern and Matt Sullivan complete their eight years on the council this year.