The Tri-Valley's newest state legislator, Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, has started her first term after being sworn into office during a ceremony in Sacramento earlier this month.
A political newcomer and attorney by trade, Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) defeated two-term incumbent Catharine Baker (R-Dublin) in one of the closest State Legislature elections in all of California, ending with a victory margin of 51% to 49% when the Assembly District 16 vote totals were finalized nearly four weeks after Election Night.
"I am so honored that the people of AD16 chose me to be here representing them, and I am just so privileged and excited to work to represent all of my constituents. So I am here to deliver for my district," Bauer-Kahan, 40, said in an audio statement on her district website.
Buoyed by the blue wave seen at polls across California this fall, Bauer-Kahan reclaimed for the Democrats one of the more moderate regions in the Bay Area, a district that consists of the Tri-Valley and Lamorinda communities along with a portion of Walnut Creek.
During the campaign this fall, Bauer-Kahan presented herself as a Democrat who would always represent the voice of District 16 residents while criticizing Baker for not acting in line with constituents' priorities 100% of the time, despite the Republican incumbent's bipartisan reputation.
Bauer-Kahan's victory -- to earn her first-ever elected position -- marked a remarkable turnaround after finishing well behind Baker in the June primary (56.6% to 43.4%) and after trailing by 2.4% after early returns on Election Night on Nov. 6.
But the Orinda Democrat continued to gain ground each subsequent day as more vote-by-mail and provisional ballots were counted in Alameda and Contra Costa counties before taking a lead she would not relinquish Nov. 16.
Her final margin of victory was 4,539 votes, among the nearly 218,000 registered voters who cast ballots.
Bauer-Kahan was sworn into office during a ceremony Dec. 3 at the State Capitol, with the oath administered by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles). Her husband and three children were among the supporters on-hand for the event.
"I'm excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work and deliver on transportation and education and the things we really need, but also to work to represent the values of our district. To make sure we're getting the voice we need on the environment, on a woman's right to choose, on gun violence prevention, on the things that my constituents elected me to come here and do," she said on her district website.