As election season gets into full swing, Oakland’s mayoral race is heating up as we get closer to the November elections and mayoral candidate Jason “Shake” Anderson is using this platform to push for progressive leadership in the city, public safety, local jobs, and more effective programs to engage young people.
“The City of Oakland should be at the forefront of progressive politics,” says Anderson, who served in the military for seven years and was involved in the Occupy Oakland movement.
The Occupy movement served as his gateway into politics and provided a “vehicle to engage in what I can do for humanity.”
The Bay Area native says city leadership should reflect community needs, not corporate interests. Growing up in Oakland, a former radio host and now a spoken word artist, Anderson feels that he has what it takes to represent the community.
“I think now is the time for Oakland to really make the change to have the leadership it deserves,” he says. “It would take someone like myself who is already dedicated to civil engagement, fighting against economic inequality and social injustice and who has a strong community background without any corporate ties, to push the progressive movement that Oakland should have.”
It’s about working together, Anderson continues.
“The problem with government and politics is this ‘isolation politics,’ where people only help those that help them. What it looks like at the end of the day is a small group of people advance while the general populace falls behind, and I would like to see the general populace advance,” he says.
Focusing on a number of issues including youth engagement and jobs, Anderson takes a different approach when addressing public safety.
He says, “To decrease crime, you have to actually identify not just who’s perpetrating but why they’re perpetrating.”
Addressing the need for local jobs, Anderson is supporting running mate Sam Washington’s plan, Oakland First, which would prioritize hiring and employment goals for Oakland residents.
When corporations want to bring their business to Oakland, the conversation should not be about if it’s going to happen, it should be about how much they are willing to give, says Anderson.
“For years, Oakland has always taken a position of weakness when it comes to corporations, and that’s just a bad way to negotiate,” he says.
“We have to come from a position of strength, and that means setting standards on what we want from corporations before they even come to the table. If we don’t have any standards on what corporations are going to give back to the community, then we’ll always be negotiating from a deficit.”
The self-proclaimed “Town Mayor” professes his adaptability in reaching both the younger and older generations. Another priority issue for Anderson is ensuring that current youth programs are effective in benefiting those young people who are in need of resources. Some of these programs, he says, are either underfunded or mismanaged.
“Intelligence shouldn’t be stifled by a lack of resources,” he said. “We should help people get the resources they need so that we can use their intelligence to make things better for everyone.”