Fremont Mayor Shadowed by Past Voting History in Tight State Senate Race

Two women of color running to replace termed out California State Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) are neck-and-neck in fundraising and claim similar “firsts” in their political careers.

Candidates Aisha Wahab—Hayward mayor pro tem and the first Afghan-American woman elected to public office—and Lily Mei—Fremont's mayor and the city's first elected woman and Asian American—each hope to represent more than 900,000 residents in Senate District 10, which includes Milpitas, Santa Clara and the northwestern corner of San Jose.

Wieckowski recently endorsed Wahab as his successor, but if campaign coffers are any sign, it’s still going to be a close race.

During the first six months of 2021, Mei raised $300,456 and spent $19,456, while Wahab reported $243,937.88 and spent only $485.

One major distinction, however, is the negative attention being shone on Mei’s political past.

While her campaign website cites an “unequivocal commitment to advancing the rights, well-being, and dignity of LGBTQIA+ people and their families,” moments from Mei's tenure as a Fremont Unified School District Trustee from 2008 to 2014 paint a different picture.

She previously rejected a proposal to recognize a day honoring civil rights leader Harvey Milk, voted to ban “Angels in America,” a book about the AIDS epidemic, from FUSD curriculums and voted against inclusive sex education for all students.

Mei refutes these allegations, despite news coverage reporting otherwise—prompting the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee to unanimously withhold endorsements for anti-LGBTQIA+ candidates.

Mei's current endorsers include U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, San José Mayor Sam Liccardo and former CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Carl Guardino.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

5 Comments

  1. Wahab only spent $485?

    Is that what SJI charges for a smear piece on aspiring politicians?

    A real news source has journalists and editors who have names and can be held accountable for telling lies.

  2. Lily Mei has not apologized for her anti lgbt votes only denied them when they are documented for public to see. Thats a double big red flag for me liar and anti lgbt All candidates in CA say they support all people but actions are what we need to look at!
    Aisha Wahob is who I am watching. So far everything she has said and her time as Hayward Council has shown me I can trust what she says. Might not always agree but she is not your typical politician saying whatever they think you want to hear! She is the real deal. Until proven differently I am supporting Aisha Wohab

  3. This is a very one-sided article. Let’s be real about who would BEST represent this district in the California Assembly. I am a 30-year resident of Fremont and Lily Mei is the most qualified candidate running. Why don’t we focus on her political experience? Also, I don’t want some a 30-year old kid serving as my state senator. I urge any readers of this article to disregard the this poorly written article above.

    Just look at Lily Mei’s endorsements below: U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, San José Mayor Sam Liccardo and former CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Carl Guardino. — Silicon Valley powerhouses.

  4. In my opinion as a long time Fremont resident, I believe that Lily Mei has failed this City. She campaigned on reduced building yet under her watch the building of 5 story ‘crackerbox’ housing has exploded. She promoted Zero Vision and spent millions on a European concept to reduce traffic deaths that has been mostly ineffective in the US but adding to motorists frustration, and confusion while an underfund police department has been unable to respond to anything but the most serious incidences. Under her watch a thriving Afghan community in the center of the City has been. turned into a fenced weed patch. Under her watch the City paid a City Manager $300,000.00 to leave his position after being accused, but so far not convicted of a crime.

    It is a good thing that someone is running against her as if not I would be doing a write in of Kock Roach as the next State Senator as I feel that a cockroach would be able do a better job than Lily Mei based on her performance as Mayor of the City of Fremont.

  5. thee kiss of death:

    “Mei’s current endorsers include U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, San José Mayor Sam Liccardo and former CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Carl Guardino”

    Now I think Mei may be a stronger candidate, but how can any warm blooded prog-on vote for someone Emperor Palpatine endorses?

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