Voters throughout the vast majority of the Tri-Valley will decide again between two familiar candidates for their representative in the state's lower legislative house.
Incumbent Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) is vying for a third consecutive term in the Nov. 8 election, challenged this fall by businessman Joe Rubay (R-Alamo) -- a rematch of the 2020 general election when Bauer-Kahan defeated Rubay comfortably, 67.4% to 32.6%.
These are also the same two candidates from the June primary election, which saw Bauer-Kahan finish first with 66.6% to Rubay's 33.4%. Under the California Election Code for state offices, both automatically advanced to a runoff in the general election even though Bauer-Kahan earned more than 50% of the vote.
For Bauer-Kahan, an environmental attorney by trade when she won the District 16 seat in 2018 for her first elected office, the 2021-22 legislative session saw the second-term assemblymember have 15 bills signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Her successful legislation covered a range of topics such as reproductive rights, fire safety, eliminating the so-called "pink tax" of gendered pricing, illegal dumping and mental health care including the creation of the 988 mental health crisis hotline.
"I am also thrilled with our legislative accomplishments this year. I passed bills that will save countless lives," Bauer-Kahan told the Weekly. "After two years of hard work, Assembly Bill 988 has been signed by Governor Newsom. This bill will ensure that those in mental health crisis have an alternative to 911 and a law enforcement response. 988 will provide mental health support and on the ground mobile crisis response teams for every Californian."
"I have been leading in California's efforts to continue to provide comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including abortion, in a Post-Roe world," Bauer-Kahan added. "AB1666 and AB1242 protect patients and providers in California from civil and criminal liability for providing abortion care that is legal in the state of California."
The incumbent also pointed to securing $5 million in this year's state budget to advance the next phase of planning for the Valley Link commuter light rail system, $3 million for local firefighting technology and more than $31 million for the preservation of Tesla Park outside Livermore.
She was also named this year as chair of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife amid the ongoing drought and other environmental priorities.
"If given the chance to represent AD16 for another term, it is my promise to work every day to represent our shared values. I ran for office to fight for our children's future, the work is far from done and I would be honored to continue the work," Bauer-Kahan said.
Rubay, an appraiser by trade who currently serves as the chair of the Alamo Police Advisory Committee, is seeking to win a publicly elected office for the first time, running on a platform largely centered on fiscal, social and regulatory conservatism.
"Why I'm running is simple. I am concerned about where this state and our country is headed for our children and grandchildren," Rubay said in a press release launching his general election campaign. "We need to stand up, give voters a choice for someone who will really address and fight for their concerns and issues versus just giving them lip service."
"We have a culturally diverse district, but I believe we want the same things all parents, families, individuals and businesses want -- commonsense leadership, safety from crime, a lower cost of living, better oversight for fiscally sound state budgeting and spending and good schools focused on basic education with parental involvement and support," he added.
As for specific campaign priorities, Rubay told the Weekly he would aim to "stop the passage of legislation that divides us: bill to start a committee to study reparations, a bill to establish a gender neutral toy aisle, legislation that requires an ethnic studies course before a student graduates from high school."
"Reduce regulation and requirements -- i.e., all cars sold in California must be electric by 2035 -- to reduce the cost of living and help people of lesser means," he added.
Rubay also cited goals of exploring the latest in nuclear power and natural gas plants, support for Los Vaqueros and Sites reservoirs' projects, a repeal of Proposition 47 and a "return to the basics in school curriculum."
After redistricting, Assembly District 16 still includes most -- but now not all -- of the Tri-Valley, in addition to the Lamorinda communities and most of Walnut Creek.