Ex-Pleasanton councilwoman announces State Assembly bid

Cheryl Cook-Kallio set to challenge Republican incumbent Baker

Former Pleasanton City Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio said Tuesday that she will enter the race for the 16th State Assembly seat in the state's June 7 primary.

Cook-Kallio, a Democrat, aims to unseat first-term Republican Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, who already announced her intent to seek re-election next year.

Cook-Kallio's decision to run was not unexpected. A public school teacher for more than 35 years, she served on the Pleasanton council for eight years, until being termed out in 2014. She said friends had urged her to seek another elected office, with many urging her to run for the Pleasanton school board.

She decided against that opportunity in the November 2014 school board election, and also was sidelined by Democrats who favored former Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti as its candidate for the 16th District Assembly seat that year. Baker defeated Sbranti with 51.6% of the vote in the November 2014 Assembly election.

Cook-Kallio also sought election as Pleasanton's mayor in 2012 but lost to fellow Councilman Jerry Thorne.

When looking at issues that matter most to the community, Cook-Kallio said that "the current Assembly member's record in Sacramento does not match her lip service in the community."

"I won't sit idly writing op-eds about the traffic gridlock that spills off the freeways and clogs city streets," she said. "I will take action. I will get BART to Livermore and the subsequent ACE Train connection by introducing legislation to create a joint powers agreement between Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton and the transportation agency to ensure this connection happens."

She said Baker claims to be pro-choice but a look at her votes in Sacramento on reproductive health, women's health and rights, sex education and access to affordable health care tell a different story.

"Her voting record on women's health issues earned her one of the lowest scores in the legislature when evaluated by PPAC, a women's health advocacy organization," Cook-Kallio said.

With years of experience teaching students in the classroom, Cook-Kallio said she understands the needs of students.

"I have the first-hand experience needed to ensure all California students leave our schools with a well-rounded education, a strong foundation and the skills necessary to be successful in the 21st century," she explained.

Cook-Kallio recently retired after more than 39 years as a classroom teacher. She holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, three teaching credentials from San Jose State University and a master's degree in history with an emphasis on the U.S. Constitution, also from San Jose State.

She plans to officially launch her campaign in January. Under California's open primary format, the top two finishers in the June primary, regardless of political party affiliation, would be set to face off in the general election Nov. 8.

The 16th Assembly District includes Pleasanton, Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Lafayette, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, San Ramon and Walnut Creek.

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15 people like this
Posted by Tony
a resident of Diablo
on Dec 9, 2015 at 7:17 am

Catharine Baker has been an absolutely outstanding representative. The Democrats want to regain their supermajority in the Assembly.
Please don't let the California Educators Association and other public employee unions regain a stranglehold on our district and state.

10 people like this
Posted by Treetopper
a resident of Danville
on Dec 9, 2015 at 1:58 pm

I have to agree with Tony. Assemblywoman Baker is doing a superb job. Most newbies to the Assembly (actually, all houses of govt, both state and federal)go thru something akin to an apprenticeship for the first year and learn the ropes. Not Baker. She hit the floor running and hasn't stopped. I stand by the theory that "if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it." That's exactly the way I feel about Baker; she's doing a great job, why change?

9 people like this
Posted by Baker supporter
a resident of Danville
on Dec 9, 2015 at 5:43 pm

I am in total agreement about the remarkable job that Assemblywoman Baker is doing. She is very smart, very personable, an extremely hardworker for our district, and most importantly she is not beholden to any money interests! Why on earth would we want to replace Baker with a knee-jerk teachers unionist such as Cook-Kallio? Baker gives ample support to teachers, but has the students' best interests at the forefront of her pro-education work. That's how it should be. VOTE BAKER FOR ASSEMBLY!

7 people like this
Posted by Arnie
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 10, 2015 at 3:48 pm

So Ms. Cook-Kallio looses in running for Mayor of Pleasanton and so she figures her next best opportunity is to run for Assembly?? This sounds like the flip side of the Abram Wilson run for Assembly. He won mayor in San Ramon in 2003 and then lost every election thereafter. He even lost when he ran for city council in 2011.

Catharine Baker is doing a good job and is working across the isle to get some legislation passed. I will be supporting Catharine.

2 people like this
Posted by Marilyn
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 13, 2015 at 3:27 pm

I am a Democrat and I voted for, and will vote again vote for Catharine Baker. She is moderate and knows she must work on both sides of the aisle to get things done for the people she represents.

As a former public educator, Cook Kallio could have been great for the Pleasanton School Board, where her years of experience in the classroom would have been invaluable to her community.

2 people like this
Posted by Tony
a resident of Diablo
on Dec 13, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Marilyn, Thank you for your support. Your observations are spot on . Ms. Cook-Kallio will be well funded by the Public Employee Unions and those who oppose education reform. It will be a very expensive race. Catharine Baker is brilliant as well as very pragmatic. We are fortunate to have her.

2 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Diablo
on Dec 13, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Catharine is smart, thoughtful, strong and does a great job of representing the vast majority of the Assembly district. The far right and far left probably don't like her stands on many issues but the middle is getting great representation.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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