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    Jackie vs. Goliath for California State Senate

    By Jennifer Kroot–

    Jackie Fielder, a young, indigenous, queer, Latina, Democratic Socialist is running for California State Senate. The District 11 seat, held by Scott Wiener, is up for grabs.

    When looking around D11, and seeing widening inequality and epidemic homelessness, despite the nonstop erection of luxury units, Jackie couldn’t understand why no one was challenging Wiener. Frustrated by the status quo, she threw her hat in the ring.

    Jackie, a California native, was raised by a single mother. “We were low income,” Jackie says, “but my mom worked her butt off as a secretary, so that we always had just enough to get by.”

    Jackie mirrored her mom’s work ethic. At 17, she attended Stanford University with the help of a financial aid package. She majored in public policy, and in her fourth year, she added a master’s in sociology.

    During college, Jackie became an activist, first joining BLM, and then fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Angered by the devastation the pipeline would bring to her ancestral territories of the Dakotas, she wondered, “What kind of economic system would unleash this violence on peaceful people?” She decided to take on the banking industry funding the pipeline.

    In 2017, Jackie co-founded the Public Bank Coalition, so that communities could make their own investment choices. She worked with State Assemblymembers David Chiu and Miguel Santiago, who co-authored AB 857. The bill simplifies the establishment of regional and municipal public banks in California. AB 857 became law in 2019.

    Despite Jackie’s legislative success, Wiener dismisses her as young and inexperienced. Jackie, however, must be doing something right, because Wiener is flooding the internet and airwaves with advertisements, to remind voters that he’s a “progressive.”

    Senator Wiener may be best known for his obsession to pass SB 50, which would expedite deregulated, “trickle down” development at the expense of community input and interests—but it has failed three times. Wiener claims SB 50 would create affordable housing, yet he collaborates with real estate interests rather than affordability and renters’ groups. Since 2015, Wiener has received $800k from real estate interests, not including money from Super PACs. 

    Misguided development is “a product of our housing policy system, wherein real estate developers, who want to maximize their profits, get to write our housing policies,” Jackie explains. “Senator Wiener has consistently been on the other side of his constituents when it comes to issues of renters and homelessness. Now we’re facing Grapes of Wrath levels of destitution in this pandemic.”

    Jackie is also disappointed with Wiener’s record on homelessness, especially his opposition to Proposition C, which voters passed to increase support for homeless shelters and mental health services by taxing San Francisco’s wealthiest companies. Wiener’s donors include Uber, Lyft, Facebook, Airbnb, PG&E, and billionaires, like conservative, venture capitalist, Ron Conway. In contrast, Jackie is running a grassroots campaign.

    Jackie says she expects more progressive action from our State Senator: “It’s time to stop criminalizing poverty. It’s time to prioritize people over profits. It’s time for bolder leadership.”

    Jennifer Kroot is a filmmaker, known for her LGBTQ themed documentaries, including “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin” and “To Be Takei.” Kroot is a Bay Area native, and has lived in San Francisco for 31 years (15 years in District 5). She studied filmmaking at SFAI, where she has also taught. Jennifer is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    Published on October 22, 2020