By BRETT WILKISON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Calling 2012 “a year of change,” Assemblyman Jared Huffman today officially launched his run for Congress with an online speech and roll call of current and former local elected officials supporting his candidacy.
In a five-minute video posted on his campaign website, Huffman, a San Rafael Democrat, said he has the “right combination of values, skills, sensibilities and record of getting things done” to represent California’s newly redesigned North Coast district, which stretches from Marin County’s southern border to the Oregon state line.
He cited support for environmental protection, health care and a strong social safety net as “core values” that must be defended.
“I’m not going to let the Republican extremists eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency or drill for oil off our coast or gut Medicare and Social Security,” he said.
He also listed other issues — education, energy independence and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — as top priorities.
The platform aligns closely with the area’s current Democratic incumbents, including Mike Thompson of St. Helena, whose seat has been shifted inland by redistricting, and Lynn Woolsey of Petaluma, who plans to retire at the end of her 10th term representing the North Bay.
In his speech, Huffman said both had served the area well.
But he also said a new face would bring stronger leadership to Congress and help put a lid on the “partisan bickering and gridlock” in Washington.
“These are tough times,” he said. “They call for leaders who can do more than talk. We need leaders who can take our values and our priorities and put them into action.”
A list of Huffman’s supporters released today included 14 current and former elected officials in Sonoma and Marin counties.
In Sonoma County, the endorsements came from current Supervisors Valerie Brown, David Rabbitt and Efren Carrillo. Former supervisors on the list were Bill Kortum, Mike Kerns, Mike Reilly, Tim Smith and Eric Koenigshofer.
Huffman is one of five Democrats running for the congressional seat. Others are Marin author and activist Norman Solomon, Petaluma City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee, Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams and San Rafael businesswoman Stacey Lawson.
Huffman leads that group in campaign cash. After expenditures, he had $237,000 in the bank as of June 30. Solomon, the nearest challenger, had about $79,000 and Adams reported nearly $6,000. Renee and Lawson, who announced her campaign after the close of the latest reporting period, showed no financial activity on federal campaign finance reports.
Solomon, who is campaigning this week in Humboldt and Mendocino counties, also made an announcement today, declaring that he will not be accepting donations from corporate political action committees.
He said the call stemmed from his push for tighter campaign finance rules and criticism of Wall Street’s heavy influence in Washington.
“We’re not supposed to have government of, by and for large corporations,” he said in a statement. “I don’t want their money. I want to be accountable to voters, not Wall Street.”