Menlo Park mayor joins race for seat on SM County board

Councilwoman Kirsten Keith announces candidacy Feb. 4

Newly minted Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith on Saturday, Feb. 4, tossed her name into a crowded field of candidates for a seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

She became the sixth candidate for the District 4 seat that's up for grabs since Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson terms out this year. The district includes Menlo Park, Redwood City, East Palo Alto and unincorporated North Fair Oaks and Oak Knoll.

Keith said that seats open up about every 12 years, since a supervisor can serve three four-year terms, meaning that it's a very long wait before the opportunity comes around again.

"A lot of people were asking me and encouraging me, so I thought about it and decided to go ahead," she said.

She was elected to the Menlo Park City Council in 2010 and was appointed mayor by the council this year. The mayor serves as chairman of the council, but has one vote just like the other council members.

She drew parallels between the issues facing the council -- balancing the budget, transit, job growth and economic development -- and those challenging the county. "I think that translates very well."

Keith, a criminal defense attorney, has also served on the city's planning and housing commissions, along with several county panels on women's issues.

She sounded excited about returning to the campaign trail. "I think it's going to be really great." As for endorsements, Keith declined to announce any at this time.

That enthusiasm will be needed, as no fewer than six candidates are now running for the seat.

The field to date includes East Palo Alto Councilmen Carlos Romero and David Woods, Redwood City Planning Commissioner Ernie Schmidt, Redwood City school board member Shelly Masur, and county education board trustee Guillermo "Memo" Morantes.


Like this comment
Posted by Hazelvue
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 6, 2012 at 11:53 am

Kirsten Keith will be a fantastic San Mateo County supervisor. She's youthful, super smart, experienced and an outdoorswoman, where I met her climbing Half Dome!! I've been very impressed with how she has balanced growth with the environment on the city council in Menlo Park and dealt astutely with challenging politics. She was also on the planning commission for a long time and is also a public defender representing the underclass of our region and social justice seems important to her. Since this job provides for our regional planning, infrastructure and the social safety net for thousands of Bay Area residents we're lucky to have a qualified woman interested in running for that seat who understands the implications of policy issues for companies that provide jobs as well as single mothers, the disabled and struggling families.

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