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Watch our Coffee With A Candidate video profiles: Wicks and Beckles fight for Assembly District 15

on November 1, 2018

Democrats Buffy Wicks and Jovanka Beckles are running a tight race to represent California’s Assembly District 15, which includes Richmond, Berkeley and North Oakland. While Wicks won the majority of votes in the June primary, and Beckles barely squeaked by, the two are now neck and neck a week ahead of election day.

Buffy Wicks, a former Obama staffer, touts her connections to high-level politicians like Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris and her multi-decade organizing experience. Jovanka Beckles, a Richmond City Council member and mental health worker, has been backed by Bernie Sanders and his group, Our Revolution, and paints herself as a left-leaning, no-big-money progressive.

There’s been a bit of mudslinging and a lot of skepticism, and excitement, about both candidates. So Richmond Confidential sat down with Wicks and Beckles to hear directly from both of them about where they’re from, why they’re running, what they hope to change and how they differ from their opponent.

Why are you running?

Where are you from? What is your background?

Buffy, your background suggests that you have known Oakland and Berkeley for sometime. How have you gotten to know Richmond? And Jovanka, you’ve lived in Richmond for decades. How have you gotten to know the rest of the district?

Buffy, based on your discussions with Richmond residents, what do you see as the biggest issue facing the city? And Jovanka, based on your time across the district, what are the issues you see its residents faced with?

Tell us a little bit about your main priorities for education in the district.

What is your stance on Prop 10, and what are your main priorities around housing in the district?

From looking at both of your platforms, it seems that there are many similarities in what you’re both pushing for and care about. You both want expanded money for public education. You both want MediCare for All. You both want California to be entirely run on renewable energy within a few years. What do you see as the main differences between you two?

You’re running a time when identity in politics is hugely important.You’re both women, at a time when more women are running at all levels of the government. And you’re both on the progressive side of the political spectrum.But one of you is white and heterosexual, the other black and openly lesbian.Does your identity matter in this election? Should it?

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Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.

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