By Post Staff
Part 1-“A voice outside
the Political machine”
Marilyn Singleton’s campaign for Congress against incumbent Barbara Lee can be considered an uphill climb because Lee has represented Oakland since 1998 and has often won reelection with super-sized majorities.
But Singleton, who is running as an independent, is someone who has overcome obstacles more than once in her life and is comfortable with going against the odds.
“I have always been someone who has pushed back when people say something can’t be done.” Singleton said. “Somebody has to step forward and give people a little hope that there are voices outside the political machine.”
Born and raised in San Diego, she was able to read at 3 and half years old, but the local public school refused to admit her. “My mother marched me down to the Catholic school,” she said, and she was admitted.
Growing up, Singleton participated in boycotts against Woolworth’s for its segregated lunch counters and marched against 1964’s Proposition 14, which sought to nullify the Rumford Fair Housing Act, which forbids discrimination in housing.
Singleton challenged the status quo when she decided to attend Stanford University, which at the time did not yet accept African Americans.
“They said they didn’t take Negroes there, but we pushed along. Stanford even had to write an apology,” she said.
Singleton was also one of the first women to go into surgery at UC San Francisco, at a time when very few women were accepted into the field. She completed her residency in anesthesiology at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital.
A resident of Oakland for 25 years, she is an anesthesiologist and an attorney.
She emphasizes that she is an independent because she is not beholden to either political party.
“My allegiance will be to my constituents, not a political party,” Singleton said.
“I – like many Americans – am fed up with the never-ending recession, broken promises, and most of all the arrogance of our professional politicians, who have convinced themselves that we average people need ‘smart’ people to take care of us.
“I would like to do my part to bring citizen legislators back to Washington.”
She says there is a role for the federal government to fund some programs, but they should be run locally and not stifle efforts of individuals and community groups.
“I’m not anti-federal government. (But) when it comes to social issues, we need community involvement,” she said.
The federal government should not bail out businesses or manipulate commerce, Singleton said, since the “free market system and the free market of ideas have brought more prosperity and a higher standard of living to the greatest number of people, regardless of race or color.”
She says there is “no question that bigotry and racism are unacceptable. But the existence of bigotry should never be used to skirt the rule of law, excuse bad behavior or to fuel class and race warfare.”
Singleton’s approach to improving education focuses on individual and community choice. She supports charter schools and school vouchers.
“If we take more of the federal government out of schools and put more of the money into locally-based innovative programs, then we will get farther with our children,” she said.
“Each community is different, and each community will have different solutions to their problems.”