Piepho is running against soon-to-be-termed-out GOP Assemblyman Guy Houston, her former boss and mentor.
“Mary and I don’t see eye-to-eye on all fiscal policies but I see her reaching out,” Torlakson said. “I’ve worked well with her on a number of things and I think she’s focused on getting things done and not staying in an ideological box.”
As examples, Torlakson cited Piepho’s support for his bills that would have levied a small fee on divorce and other official filings to help pay for domestic violence prevention programs. She supported his proposal to raise the real estate transaction fee to pay for a housing trust fund. And she endorsed his successful bill to double fines on Vasco Road, a stretch of highway riddled with accidents.
Houston did not support either the housing trust fund or the domestic violence funding bills, Torlakson said.
The senator also disapproves of Houston’s decision to run against a woman who not only worked for the Assemblyman but was also recruited by Houston to run for county supervisor and state Assembly.
“Mary is there, doing the job and she deserves to be re-elected,” Torlakson said. “Some people may have gripes about this or that, but I was a (Contra Costa County) supervisor for 16 years and you can’t please people all the time. ”
The senator has prepared an endorsement letter that Piepho will use in her campaign materials.
Torlakson’s endorsement will no doubt further alienate fiscal hawks who argue that Piepho is not fiscally conservative enough for their tastes and have thrown their support behind Houston.
But she was unlikely to win their votes anyway, and Torlakson is a very popular lawmaker in Contra Costa County. His support could help bring moderates of both parties into her camp.
Torlakson also terms out this year. He is running for a third term in the state Assembly prior to a run at statewide office in 2010, the state superintendent of public instruction. (Prior to serving eight years in the state Senate, he served only two of the three maximum terms in the Assembly allowed under term limits.)