Candidate Profiles: Sean White


Long-time Lafayette resident Sean White wanted to make a second run for county supervisor to draw attention to the role of money in politics. A solar energy professor, White ran against current Supervisor Gayle Uilkema in 2000.

"The main reason that I'm running is because I don't believe in money in politics. What I'm trying to do is run a money free campaign, and I figured if I could do it other people could start doing it too," White said, noting that he will personally finance his campaign, using social media such as Facebook for promotion.

White ran on a similar platform in the 2000 supervisorial. Although he lost the election, White continues to hold true to the principals in his campaign statement 12 years ago:

"You the citizen should be able to know what I am really about. County Supervisors who claim to care about the quality of life here should not be taking campaign contributions from developers or oil refineries, period," White wrote. "Accordingly, I will not accept any money from developers, PACs, or corporations; and I will accept no more than $100 from anyone. As a Supervisor I will push for Contra Costa to have the strictest campaign finance laws in California."

White noted that Uilkema raised $100,000 from refineries, developers and foreclosure firms during the 2000 race and encouraged county residents to not let similar practices continue.

"I will be your advocate to ride the wave that takes money out of politics," White said. " If this can happen on the local level, perhaps the next time it will happen on a much larger level and the playing field will be leveled."

White is primarily concerned with environmental issues, renewable energy and job creation. If elected, White said he would encourage job growth in the green energy sector by making permitting easier for renewable energy, incentivizing the public and private sectors to install solar on homes and businesses and help residents find financing.

"I also care about air pollution, affordable health care, smart growth -- I live right next to a BART station, and I think it's the greatest thing," he said. "It'd be nice if BART went down from Walnut Creek to Dublin some day; there should be more BART stations…. I think that we should focus more on things like that, better ways to get around, decrease congestion."

Although he hasn't held public office before, White said he doesn't think his lack of local government experience will hinder his abilities as a supervisor.

"Having no experience is better in some ways because you're not an insider, you don't know all the different ways to sell out. I know that I don't have the best chance of winning this election because of the way I'm doing things, but at least I'm getting some issues out there," he said, adding that a vote for him would not be a spoiler vote in the event of a runoff election.

During his last campaign, White said he was responsible for policy and project changes, particularly in the Gateway Valley between the Caldecott Tunnel and Canyon/Orinda. Developers were going to put a golf course on pristine land that would "move more earth than they did for the Hoover Dam," he noted. After his campaign fired up residents, the developers scaled back their plans.

"I do not blame these business for taking advantage of the system, nor do I blame the politicians for using the system to stay alive, however I challenge the voters in this community to be smarter than the junk mail/side of the road sign slogans and to vote for a candidate with real solutions to the political problems that we face today," he said.


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