San Francisco Chronicle
May 2, 2016 Updated: May 2, 2016 3:56pm
Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, who is running for re-election in the 16th Assembly District, speaks during a San Francisco Chronicle editorial board meeting on Friday, April 29, 2016 in San Francisco, California.
Assemblywoman Catharine Baker proved to be precisely the type of legislator we anticipated when we endorsed her in 2014: independent, pragmatic, serious and focused on issues that matter to an East Bay district that stretches from Lamorinda to the Tri-Valley.
The Republican attorney from Dublin has pushed the issues she ran on — education reform, infrastructure, fiscal prudence — and played a key role in bridging differences on some other very difficult ones in Sacramento.
A prime example was last year’s End of Life Option Act, which will allow physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients in narrowly defined circumstances.
Baker’s successful addition of safeguarding amendments — including felony provisions for anyone who coerces or fools a patient into taking such drugs — helped assure its passage.
“I sleep very well at night on that one,” Baker said of the final bill.
The Democrats are determined to win back that seat, but their candidate, retired teacher Cheryl Cook-Kallio, demonstrated little sign of being ready for Sacramento. She pledged to devote more money to education, but she was decidedly fuzzy about where that funding might come from.
Asked to identify votes in which she differed from Baker, Cook-Kallio kept going to the refrain, “Her record speaks for itself.”
Indeed it does. Baker came to our editorial board meeting with a three-page summary of Democratic bills she supported on substantive matters: environment, tobacco control, women’s reproductive health, vaccines and firearms among them. For example, she was the only Republican co-author of SB1006, which sanctioned state research into gun violence. “Research doesn’t violate your Second Amendment rights,” she said.
Sacramento would be far better off with more legislators like Baker, fixed on results instead of party labels and special-interest benefactors. She has earned a second term.