Several Democratic politicians running for state office, including Attorney General Jerry Brown, will be participating Saturday in a forum in San Francisco held by an organization that advocates for reproductive rights.
NARAL Pro-Choice California organized the forum and invited all the Democratic and Republican candidates for the November races for the state’s governor, attorney general and insurance commissioner, according to Amy Everitt, state director of the organization.
Everitt said Saturday’s event is focusing on “privacy and the right to choose, specifically how these offices influence and have an impact on a woman’s right to choose.”
All Republican candidates, including gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner, declined the invitation.
Everitt said “she was hoping but not expecting that they attended,” because all but Whitman have strong anti-choice records.
Whitman’s campaign said she couldn’t attend the event because of a previous engagement, and also because “choice wasn’t the issue they were running on,” Everitt said.
Several Democrats accepted the invitation, including Brown and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who is running for the state attorney general seat.
Everitt said the upcoming elections for these state offices have an impact on a woman’s right to choose through their budget decisions, the people they choose to run certain state agencies, and how the recent health care reform law will be implemented in California.
The law, passed last month by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, is estimated to increase health care coverage to about 32 million uninsured Americans through provisions such as mandates requiring people to get health care and the barring of insurance companies from excluding customers with pre-existing conditions.
The candidates who are coming to the forum all have strong pro-choice voting records, but Everitt said the purpose of the event is to “go deeper” on the issue.
“Folks have voted well on the issue but we’re wondering if you’ll be the leader we need you to be on the subject,” she said.
The event’s mistress of ceremonies will be Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, while the honorary event chair is former Gov. Gray Davis.
The forum will be moderated by Maria Echaveste, a former deputy chief of staff for President Clinton, and Steve Maviglio, the former press secretary to Davis.
Questions will be taken from members of the audience, as well as questions sent in by the organization’s activists throughout the state.
The event, which will be held at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, located at 1111 California St., is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Regular tickets are $50, while tickets for seniors and other activists or staff of nonprofit organizations cost $25.
Tickets cost $15 for students, which Everitt said are expected to comprise about a quarter of the audience for the forum.
“I think it’s going to be a really interesting discussion,” she said. “It’s one of the only candidate forums that’s focused on a specific issue and on the millennial generation.”
For more information about the event, visit www.forumforchoice.com.