The Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC) has announced early endorsements for three candidates running in the June 5 primary elections—Shay Franco-Clausen for San Jose City Council District 9, Nancy Magee for San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools, and Evan Low for California State of Assembly, District 28.
BAYMEC is a four-county political action group that has been advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and queer civil rights since 1984. The endorsements announcements made earlier this week came as a welcome surprise because the group didn’t back any candidates in 2016.
Franco-Clausen, a former BAYMEC board member, said that, if elected, she would be the first lesbian Afro-Latina to serve on the San Jose council.
“I’m honored,” Franco-Clausen told San Jose Inside. “I did cry when I got it. I was very happy. It just means that I stand with them; they’re going to stand with me when it comes to standing up and making sure that there’s always an LGBT lens to local politics.”
The south San Jose resident said that she was really excited when she received the endorsement and that she obtained a lot of positive feedback from the community. If elected, she said, she hopes to continue to work closely with the LGBTQ community and with BAYMEC.
Paul Escobar, who is BAYMEC’s vice president said they are really excited about this upcoming election and the candidates that were endorsed. He said that for early endorsements they were looking specifically for LGBTQ candidates and qualifications, depending on the position they are running for.
“These candidates, we think, are qualified and will be responsive to not only the LGBTQ community but the community at large,” Escobar said in a phone interview. “We think that they bring strong visions to the issues they are speaking to, and that they will move meaningful policies.”
Escobar said that BAYMEC will endorse more candidates soon. The group works in four different counties—Santa Clara, San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Monterey—and has received questionnaires from candidates in each one of those jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, BAYMEC is planning a candidate forum for contenders in the race to replace Ken Yeager—who became Silicon Valley’s first openly gay elected official decades ago as a San Jose council member and who’s now terming of out of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors’ District 4 seat. The five people vying to succeed him are Former Campbell Mayor Jason Baker, Santa Clara Councilman Dominic Caserta, San Jose Unified School District trustee Susan Ellenberg, former San Jose Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio, and his former colleague, terming out District 9 Councilman Don Rocha.
The forum will take place on March 22 at the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center ballroom. It will be moderated by Terry Christensen and will be free for the public.