Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said today she’s launching an “exploratory committee” as a prelude to a possible run for mayor of Oakland this year. The committee will allow Kaplan to raise funds for a mayoral bid in the November election and enable her to gauge how much support she has in the community. If she receives significant backing for her bid then it appears likely that she will officially jump into the race.
“With this economic and political environment, our community is in need of a bold new vision and leadership,” Kaplan said in a statement today. “I’m looking at the magnitude of what we need to do to strengthen the local economy, attract jobs and make doing business in Oakland easier, and know it will take dedicated effort.”
Fellow Councilwoman Jean Quan also opened an exploratory committee in the fall of 2009 before officially launching her campaign last month. Kaplan would join Quan and ex-state Senator Don Perata as the major candidates for Oakland mayor. Ron Dellums has not announced whether he plans to run for reelection, and if he does not, a significant portion of his supporters are expected to back Kaplan.
As the Express has reported previously, Kaplan could benefit from this year’s new voting format — ranked choice voting — because in her time on the council, she has created alliances with numerous differing groups, which could enable her to pick up a lot of second-place votes in the election, potentially giving her an edge over her competitors.
Here is Kaplan’s full press release:
OAKLAND, CA April 13, 2010 — City Councilmember At Large Rebecca Kaplan announced today that she has filed necessary paper work to form an exploratory committee for the Oakland mayor’s race in the November 2010 election.
“With this economic and political environment, our community is in need of a bold new vision and leadership,” said Kaplan. “I’m looking at the magnitude of what we need to do to strengthen the local economy, attract jobs and make doing business in Oakland easier, and know it will take dedicated effort.”
Through the exploratory committee Kaplan is looking not only to identify key issues but also to invite input and involve supporters. She plans to address critical concerns including the need for more economic revitalization, local hire policies, and livable communities. Her goal is to “continue to build an Oakland we can all be proud of.” Filing an exploratory committee allows fundraising to begin as well.
Kaplan will be hosting a reception and fundraiser party on Wednesday May 12, 2010 at the historic Cathedral Building in Uptown Oakland located at 1615 Broadway Ave., from 5:30 — 7:00pm.
“I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and tackle the issues that face Oakland at this important crossroads for our city’s future.” Kaplan, who was elected to Oakland’s city-wide Council seat with 62% of the vote, is the first openly-lesbian elected official in Oakland. Helping to modernize city hall by improving its efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness will be part of Kaplan’s top priorities, along with economic revitalization and public safety.
“We need to make it possible to do business more effectively, including providing forms, fees and permits online.’’ Kaplan said. “We need to make creating jobs and doing business in Oakland easier.” Updating our zoning to attract economic opportunity will be part of the groundwork it takes to make the city more serviceable, she added.
Former director for the AC Transit Board, Kaplan, 39, has established herself as a thoughtful policymaker acting for real-world solutions, from updating zoning to landing funds to launch a new free transit shuttle for Oakland’s central corridor. Kaplan’s work experience includes providing financial education and legal referrals to residents facing foreclosure, serving as a State Assembly legislative aide, passing a new vacant/blighted property ordinance, and worked to strengthen the city budget with innovative funding strategies.
Kaplan grew up attending Orthodox Jewish day school, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree, and earned a law degree from Stanford University.