CASTRO VALLEY — Assemblymember Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) has declared her candidacy for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
Hayashi represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes San Leandro, Hayward and Dublin. The first Korean American woman elected to the California State Legislature, she was elected in 2006, 2008 and 2010 and is now termed out.
The vacancy on the Board of Supervisors was left by Nadia Lockyer, who recently resigned because of personal issues. The wife of State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, she made headlines last February when she said she had been assaulted in a Newark hotel room by a former boyfriend whom she had met while in rehab. A sex tape of the supervisor and the boyfriend later surfaced. Bill Lockyer has since filed for divorce.
Former Union City Councilmember Richard Valle is serving as supervisor on an interim basis and will run for the seat in November. Union City Mayor Mark Green is also a candidate.
Hayashi has been dogged by a scandal of her own, though it seems tame compared to Lockyer’s. In October 2011, she was arrested for shoplifting after walking out Neiman Marcus in San Francisco’s Union Square with $2,450 worth of clothes. She said she had planned to pay for the items but was distracted by a phone call. Her attorney also said that she might have been affected by a benign brain tumor, but Hayashi later said that was not a factor.
In January, Hayashi pleaded no contest to misdemeanor grand theft, reduced by the judge from felony grand theft, was sentenced to three years of probation and a fine of $180, and was ordered to stay away from the store. A felony conviction would have prevented her from chairing any Assembly committees.
In an interview last month with The Marin Independent Journal, Hayashi discussed the incident. “My opponents may use the issue to try to smear me, but I trust the voters to be smarter than that … The world doesn’t end when you make a personal mistake. People still need help … and I haven’t missed a single day of work.”
Hayashi has kept busy. Last month she hosted the Senior Health Fair and the Pet Health and Safety Fair, and visited Washington, D.C. as part of an Assembly delegation to advocate for more federal resources.
On Aug. 6, Hayashi adjourned a legislative session in memory of the shooting victims at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, noting that one of them was the cousin of Hayward’s Sikh temple priest, Charnjit Singh, who received the news before Sunday services. “With courage and strength, he led and comforted his congregation as they all waited for more information, and prayed for friends and families in preparation for the heart-breaking details,” she said.
Hayashi serves as chair of the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, and a member of the Assembly Health Committee and the Assembly Insurance Committee. She is also chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Community Colleges and vice chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.
Among her bills that have been signed into law is AB 25, a concussion safety bill that placed California alongside Washington as the states with the toughest return-to-play laws for student athletes. She authored AB 509, which served as the catalyst for establishing California’s first Office of Suicide Prevention, and AB 142 to help increase funding for schools through changes to the California State Lottery.
“I have been honored to serve our diverse families and communities in the State Legislature,” Hayashi said. “With an overall goal of making a better future for California, I have authored legislation to protect seniors, promote children’s health, and support public education.”
She served as the Alameda County coordinator in the successful campaign to pass Proposition 63, which provides increased funding for a broad prevention, early intervention, and treatment services in county and statewide mental health programs.
Hayashi is an executive committee member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and has served as California director of the American Public Health Association, a member of the California Board of Registered Nursing, chair of the Planned Parenthood Golden Gate Political Action Committee, and board member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and Girls Inc. of Alameda County, among other organizations. She is also the author of “Far From Home: Shattering the Myth of the Model Minority.”
She is married to Alameda County Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi, who was a member of Fred Korematsu’s legal team in the 1980s.