Redwood City Mayor Giselle Hale, who announced her candidacy for the Assembly District 21 seat last week, raised $216,488 for her campaign in the last three weeks of 2021, according to her end-of-year campaign finance report.
Hale, who was appointed mayor on Dec. 6, 2021, began receiving donations about a week after being appointed, according to data pulled from the California Secretary of State's office. Her major donors include employees from Meta, Square and Door Dash, who donated $29,400, $9,800 and $9,800, respectively. Hale did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
After publicly announcing her campaign, Hale has received endorsements from 60 state leaders, including Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, State Senator Scott Wiener, Assembly member Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, as well as regional leaders, county council members and school board members. This week she also announced she had received an endorsement from the California Teachers Association.
Hale joined the council in 2018 and before becoming mayor served as vice mayor after then-vice mayor Shelly Masur's two-year term expired. She promised to increase access to childcare, improve public schools, and address the housing crisis on the council. She owns her own small business.
Also vying for the Assembly seat are James Coleman, current city council member for South San Francisco, and Maurice Goodman, a member of the San Mateo County Community College Board of Trustees. Diane Papan, deputy mayor of San Mateo, was the first to announce her candidacy in November.
In a video posted to Twitter, Papan said, "As many of you know I come from a family with a strong tradition of public service, and in these challenging times, I would be honored to continue to serve the health, safety and quality of life needs of all San Mateo County families."
Papan, who has been on the San Mateo City Council for seven years and is a San Mateo native, said her experience speaks for itself.
“I'm running because I think I can make a difference,” she said, pointing to her experience on several county boards, including the Flood and Sea Level Rise Resiliency board, and and managing her own law practice.
“A lot of people ask, ‘what are you running on?’ And I always tell people, ‘Back up a minute, ask people whether they will be successful at achieving those goals,’” she added. “Because you really have to have some competence in the person's abilities to work within the legislative process. And my strength is clearly there, given the work that I've done in this county.”
Papan, who has a 16-year-old daughter, is herself the daughter of Greek immigrants, including former Assembly Speaker Lou Papan, also known as “Dean of the Assembly,” who served for nearly 20 years. Her sister, Virginia Papan, was the Mayor of Millbrae before becoming California’s Deputy Attorney General.
For Papan, addressing affordable housing is her number one concern. She also talked about the importance of climate change resiliency—specifically sea level rise and wildfire preparedness—as well as mental health for youth, early childhood education and COVID-19 recovery efforts.
Papan has been endorsed by Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, California State Board of Equalization Member Malia Cohen and former State Senator Jerry Hill, among other state leaders and local supervisors. According to data from the California Secretary of State's office, she has raised over $26,000 so far. Though Papan said she hasn’t yet decided if she will accept corporate donations, she received $250 from an employee of biotech company Illumina, Inc. and another $250 from an employee of the Bohannon Development Company in San Mateo.
Coleman, a lifelong resident of South San Francisco, became the city's youngest and first openly LGBTQ+ member of the city council in 2020. Now only 22, Coleman would become the state's youngest legislator if elected to State Assembly. He said he thinks his age gives him an edge over the other candidates.
"A lot of people want to see younger representation in politics," he said. "It is going to take youth leadership and visionary leadership to really bring us out of these crises and push for a new perspective."
A member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Coleman runs a progressive campaign that includes a tax on extreme wealth, more affordable and mixed-income social housing, universal childcare and action towards greater climate resilience.
"I'm running for State Assembly because it really is my generation that's going to bear the brunt of the affordable housing crisis and the effects of climate change," he said. "We're already feeling it—wildfires, sea-level rise, drought."
He also wants to end the influence of big money in politics.
"Right now, I'm the only corporate-free candidate, running to make sure that we have local representation in Sacramento," he said, adding that his campaign relies entirely on support from labor unions and individual donors. "Our government can't just work for the wealthy and well-connected; it really has to work for all of us."
According to Coleman, his campaign raised close to $55,000 by the end of 2021 and is now approaching $100,000. The most common donations include $50 and $100, he said.
He's received endorsements from local and state leaders, including Assembly member Alex Lee, San Mateo County Board of Education Trustee Hector Camacho, and members of the Santa Clara Board of Education. Coleman said he's proud to have one of the most progressive and "diverse group of endorsers in this entire race."
Goodman also announced his candidacy for State Assembly in early January. In addition to serving as a Board Trustee, he's currently the assistant treasurer for the San Mateo branch of the NAACP and executive director of Operation Genesis, an organization that focuses on community and police relations.
A father and Bay Area native, Goodman calls himself a voice for the community, specifically those who have been most marginalized.
"I believe that I'm one of the only candidates that have the lived experience as well as the elected experience, of thinking about some of the issues that impact our marginalized community that have not been able to see themselves in those elected to represent them," he said.
"From losing my mom at such a young age, through going to public schools, I experienced a lot of the challenges around housing and food insecurity," he said. "Ultimately, the decision was really simple—a lot of the lifelines that allow me to succeed here in our county is what I really want to focus on in an office."
He said his campaign will be focused on listening to the voters' needs and bringing them into the conversation "when it comes to issues that impact them on a daily basis." He specifically mentioned his interest in addressing educational needs, including early childhood education and free college and food insecurity.
Goodman doesn't currently have any endorsements and hasn't received campaign funds. He said he would be seeking financial support from community members, "including those that are underserved and underrepresented," and hasn't decided yet whether he will accept corporate donations. His website, votegoodman.com, will be up in the next couple of weeks, he said.
Assembly District 21, as drawn by the California Citizen Redistricting Commission, includes Eastern San Mateo County and the cities of Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Millbrae, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo and portions of South San Francisco. It is currently represented by Assembly members Kevin Mullin and Marc Berman.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of candidates running for Assembly District 21.