What many people like about state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, is his independent streak. He speaks his mind and always attempts to do the right thing. If he falls short, he tries again. He is always looking to move the ball forward and make progress.
The same could be said for Burlingame Councilman Michael Brownrigg, who is among a crowded field of candidates seeking to replace Hill in the Senate now that the longtime San Mateo elected official has termed out. We can trust Brownrigg. He has proven to be a capable listener, who gathers information and acts in the public’s best interest. He is part of a high-functioning City Council that has taken significant strides to maintain the city’s economic stability while also moving the ball on housing by approving an ambitious general plan that carves out significant — and appropriate — areas for new homes. While this decision has an impact on the city’s current residents, it was made in a way that absorbed the current reality that local elected officials have to do their part to plan for the future and ensure this area’s viability for all.
Some could contend that more could be done, and that there should be a more radical agenda to ensure affordability for all. However, that attitude is simply not practical, and it won’t get the job done. A methodical, thought-out, analytical and holistic approach is best in creating incremental change, indeed progress — and this is where Brownrigg shines.
District 13 is incredibly diverse, its socioeconomic terrain has stretches of wealth and significant pockets of acute need. We are still making our way through a tremendous economic boom and the prosperity and hardship that comes with it. Brownrigg has been in the arena of the push and pull that spawned from this and slowly but surely took steps to listen and change accordingly.
The other candidates have their own qualities. Sally Lieber has experience in the state Assembly and is a known progressive. Shelly Masur knows education policy and understands local government issues. Josh Becker is a natural connector and understands Silicon Valley. Annie Oliva has a robust plan for homelessness. Alex Glew offers some alternative points of view on planning and budgeting. There is actually very little daylight between the candidates when it comes to policy and there have been plenty of ideas floated in this race — one hole in some candidates’ platforms is how to pay for those big ideas in a way that will safeguard the average district resident.
It also comes down to who you would feel most comfortable with representing this district in the state Senate. Brownrigg is a deep thinker who built his tool box of problem solving over time as a diplomat, a businessman and a member of a City Council and Planning Commission. He is committed to engaging with constituents to find the best solution together in a transparent way and he will be a fighter when it comes to the environment. He is also someone we can trust to listen and represent us in Sacramento. Others in the race have the requisite experience and would likely fare just fine in the capitol. In fact, it is difficult to not endorse Masur or Becker because of what they could bring to the table in terms of skills and experience. However, Brownrigg is a proven independent thinker we can trust and a natural leader with an easy and unflappable style. He will represent us well and enact positive change that is mindful of where we were, where we are and where we want to be in the future. Like Hill, he will be an effective and independent representative in the state Senate during a very pivotal time for this district. He is simply our best choice.