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From electrician to politician, Steven Booker envisions a more equitable San Mateo County

Steven Booker, a lifelong San Mateo County resident, enters the District 3 Board of Supervisors race as a political newcomer. Courtesy Steven Booker campaign.

Out of the four candidates in the District 3 Board of Supervisors race, Steven Booker stands out as a bit of an anomaly. His political experience is limited to his time on the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee since 2020, and he doesn't hold a college degree.

Booker took classes at the College of San Mateo, preparing to be a police officer, before he pivoted to become an electrician.

But, as political director and community affairs liaison for a local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) labor union, he's not without experience in advocacy. And as a lifelong resident of San Mateo County, living in Daly City, Woodside, Emerald Hills, San Mateo, Redwood City, Belmont and now Half Moon Bay, he has an intimate familiarity with some of the issues county residents face today.

In 2013, his wife, Lisa Booker. was diagnosed with brain cancer and moved back to her longtime home in Half Moon Bay with her father Ed Wilson. But with skyrocketing rents, Booker's father-in-law could no longer afford to live in the area. Booker moved in to avoid shifting his wife around during her illness and helped pay for some of his father-in-law's bills. His wife died in 2016, but Booker never left Half Moon Bay.

"Best place on God's green earth," he said in an interview with The Almanac. "I'm 53 now, about to be 54, and Half Moon Bay is perfect."

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Booker had always had a mind to run for office, but he said the pandemic truly exposed him to some of the inequities in the county. He recalled a time when Half Moon Bay's only library was closed and left some children without internet access in the midst of distant learning.

"I had students outside of my house using my internet because they didn't have Wi-Fi," he said.

With current District 3 Supervisor Don Horsely being termed out this year, Booker said now was the best shot he had to address some of the gaps he sees in the district.

One of his campaign priorities is closing the digital divide and bringing high-speed internet connectivity throughout District 3. He said he hopes to look at the Measure K funds, a half-cent tax passed in November 2016, and other county bonds to invest more into the district's broadband infrastructure.

Like all of the candidates, affordable housing is a top issue for Booker. He supports workforce housing such as the affordable apartment units that opened recently for employees of the Jefferson Union High School District, and wants the county to invest in similar types of housing for veterans, farm workers and other essential employees.

Booker said there's an opportunity to build on public lands throughout the coast, especially anywhere that might be near transit hubs. He did not have a specific area in mind when asked, but wherever the "physical infrastructure and technological infrastructure" exists, his mentality is "build, build, build."

Booker said he hopes to mend the community's relationship with law enforcement. In his perspective, he sees local trust in law enforcement eroding, especially after recent demonstrations in 2020 and the 2018 incident with Chinedu Okobi who was tased to death in Millbrae by sheriff's deputies.

Booker is firmly against defunding the police. Instead, he wants to see law enforcement interact more with the community outside the context of a traffic stop or a ticket.

"Living in Half Moon Bay, I rarely see (deputy) sheriffs outside of their cars," he said. "They need to get out of their cars a little more and introduce themselves with the shop owners and introduce themselves to the citizens of that town so that not every interaction you have with the sheriff is a negative."

As a workers' rights advocate with IBEW for more than two decades, a recording secretary for the San Mateo County Central Labor Council, and by serving on the boards of the Police Activities League and the Sheriff's Activities League, Booker believes he has a unique in with a wide demographic of county residents and hopes to leverage his position to bring more equity in the county.

"I have no hidden agenda," he said. "I just want this to be the most equitable and equal county in all of California."

Booker served a tour of duty during the Gulf War as a United States Air Force member. He is also on the board of the Clean Energy Citizens Advisory Committee.

His endorsements include David Canepa, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors; Rick Bonilla, deputy mayor of San Mateo; and Nancy Magee, San Mateo County superintendent of schools. To see his full list of endorsements go to bookerforsupervisor.org.

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Lloyd Lee joined The Almanac in 2022 as the Menlo Park reporter. Previously, he was the editorial assistant for the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com. Read more >>

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From electrician to politician, Steven Booker envisions a more equitable San Mateo County

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, May 13, 2022, 9:31 am

Out of the four candidates in the District 3 Board of Supervisors race, Steven Booker stands out as a bit of an anomaly. His political experience is limited to his time on the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee since 2020, and he doesn't hold a college degree.

Booker took classes at the College of San Mateo, preparing to be a police officer, before he pivoted to become an electrician.

But, as political director and community affairs liaison for a local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) labor union, he's not without experience in advocacy. And as a lifelong resident of San Mateo County, living in Daly City, Woodside, Emerald Hills, San Mateo, Redwood City, Belmont and now Half Moon Bay, he has an intimate familiarity with some of the issues county residents face today.

In 2013, his wife, Lisa Booker. was diagnosed with brain cancer and moved back to her longtime home in Half Moon Bay with her father Ed Wilson. But with skyrocketing rents, Booker's father-in-law could no longer afford to live in the area. Booker moved in to avoid shifting his wife around during her illness and helped pay for some of his father-in-law's bills. His wife died in 2016, but Booker never left Half Moon Bay.

"Best place on God's green earth," he said in an interview with The Almanac. "I'm 53 now, about to be 54, and Half Moon Bay is perfect."

Booker had always had a mind to run for office, but he said the pandemic truly exposed him to some of the inequities in the county. He recalled a time when Half Moon Bay's only library was closed and left some children without internet access in the midst of distant learning.

"I had students outside of my house using my internet because they didn't have Wi-Fi," he said.

With current District 3 Supervisor Don Horsely being termed out this year, Booker said now was the best shot he had to address some of the gaps he sees in the district.

One of his campaign priorities is closing the digital divide and bringing high-speed internet connectivity throughout District 3. He said he hopes to look at the Measure K funds, a half-cent tax passed in November 2016, and other county bonds to invest more into the district's broadband infrastructure.

Like all of the candidates, affordable housing is a top issue for Booker. He supports workforce housing such as the affordable apartment units that opened recently for employees of the Jefferson Union High School District, and wants the county to invest in similar types of housing for veterans, farm workers and other essential employees.

Booker said there's an opportunity to build on public lands throughout the coast, especially anywhere that might be near transit hubs. He did not have a specific area in mind when asked, but wherever the "physical infrastructure and technological infrastructure" exists, his mentality is "build, build, build."

Booker said he hopes to mend the community's relationship with law enforcement. In his perspective, he sees local trust in law enforcement eroding, especially after recent demonstrations in 2020 and the 2018 incident with Chinedu Okobi who was tased to death in Millbrae by sheriff's deputies.

Booker is firmly against defunding the police. Instead, he wants to see law enforcement interact more with the community outside the context of a traffic stop or a ticket.

"Living in Half Moon Bay, I rarely see (deputy) sheriffs outside of their cars," he said. "They need to get out of their cars a little more and introduce themselves with the shop owners and introduce themselves to the citizens of that town so that not every interaction you have with the sheriff is a negative."

As a workers' rights advocate with IBEW for more than two decades, a recording secretary for the San Mateo County Central Labor Council, and by serving on the boards of the Police Activities League and the Sheriff's Activities League, Booker believes he has a unique in with a wide demographic of county residents and hopes to leverage his position to bring more equity in the county.

"I have no hidden agenda," he said. "I just want this to be the most equitable and equal county in all of California."

Booker served a tour of duty during the Gulf War as a United States Air Force member. He is also on the board of the Clean Energy Citizens Advisory Committee.

His endorsements include David Canepa, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors; Rick Bonilla, deputy mayor of San Mateo; and Nancy Magee, San Mateo County superintendent of schools. To see his full list of endorsements go to bookerforsupervisor.org.

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