Former Fremont police chief to run for Assembly

Add former Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler to the list of candidates ready to seek the 25th Assembly District seat.

Craig StecklerSteckler, 69, a Democrat, said Thursday he has hired a campaign consultant, is gathering endorsements and is scoping out potential contributors. “It’s kind of in its infancy stages.”

“I’m not ready to retire,” he said, though the end of 2012 was the right time to end his 20-year tenure as Fremont’s top cop and “move on to the next phase of my life.”

So far that next phase has included serving as president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, an organization with 22,000 members in about 100 countries and a post that has had him globetrotting quite a bit this year. His IACP term ends next month.

Steckler described himself as a moderate Democrat who is “not a professional politician by any means” and harbors no aspiration of higher office beyond the Assembly, but believes he can “bring some skills to the job that are important.”

He said he’ll be running in large part on “his background in law and order,” and noted he doesn’t know of any other current Assembly members with law enforcement backgrounds. But he also spoke about the importance of education (he’s a strong supporter of Gov. Jerry Brown’s local-control funding formula enacted in this year’s budget), and of knowing the needs of small business (his wife has owned a Niles District antique store for 12 years) as well as the district’s information-services economy.

“I think the timing is right to step forward,” he said, then joked that he’s eager to avoid the decades-long household to-do list his wife has waiting for him and he’s “just not ready to be on the golf course three or four times a week.” As if he needs the practice:

steckler tweet

Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, is raising funds to run for the 10th State Senate District seat in 2014, which will leave the 25th Assembly District seat up for grabs. Also in the race are San Jose City Councilman Kansen Chu, Ohlone College Board of Trustees member Teresa Cox, and Milpitas Councilman Armando Gomez, all Democrats.

The 25th Assembly District includes the southern reaches of Alameda County including Newark and part of Fremont, and a swath of Santa Clara County including Milptias, Santa Clara and part of San Jose. As of February, about 45.7 percent of its voters were Democrats, about 18.5 percent were Republicans, and about 30 percent registered with no party preference.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • GV Haste

    ““I’m not ready to retire,” he said, though the end of 2012 was the right time to end his 20-year tenure as Fremont’s top cop” (45 years total in law enforcement)

    I see, but I wonder, if he doesn’t stay “retired”, then does he expect to keep collecting his pension that is in excess* of $206,000 per year, while at the same time pulling in the $95,000 a year in salary as a Assembly-member, PLUS the car allowance of $0.55 per mile AND the per diem of $141.86 per day while they are in session, which is tax free and amounts to an extra $40,000 per year.

    So let’s add it up
    $206,000 pension* (90% of $229K final salary)
    $ 95,000 salary for Assemblyman
    $ 40,000 tax free per diem
    Car allowance
    $343,000 plus.

    So my first question to the candidate would be—

    Are you going to keep it ALL if elected?

    Look, after 45 years in police work he deserves a top pension. But if he goes back to work, should he keep all of that and get an extra $140,000 from the same public monies?

  • JohnW


    The whole public pension business makes my head explode. If “pensions” were defined contribution plans, your questions would not need to be asked.

    Retirement plans would be fully vested, with no unfunded liability.
    Employees could retire, change jobs or whatever after 30 years or 30 weeks.
    Chief Steckler could do whatever he wanted with his defined contribution plan (save it, spend it, annuitize it etc. and still run for office and collect full pay from the new gig.

    Defined contribution plans don’t need to be the stingy, inadequate plans most people think about when they think of 401ks. Danville provides a very generous plan that can be annuitized into an income stream comparable to a decent defined benefit plan.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    Public pensions are so outrageous, two lifelong Democrats are commenting about them.
    When I see figures for unfunded pension liabilities, it’s mind boggling.