Post Endorsements: Sheng Thao, Pam Harris and Joseph Simmons for District 4 City Council


Incumbent Annie Campbell Washington is not running for reelection in District 4, and seven candidates are campaigning for the empty seat, which represents the Montclair, Dimond and Laurel neighborhoods.

The Oakland Post endorses Sheng Thao, who has worked for five years for councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and is her chief of staff.

The Post also recommends that voters choose Pam Harris, who works in fiscal management for nonprofits, for their second choice and Joseph Simmons, senior pastor for the Greater St. Paul Church in Oakland, for third choice.

Working in City Hall, Sheng Thao  has experience developing the city’s budget and has sought ways to secure local funding for public safety, transit and capital improvement.

She is endorsed by elected officials, including Assemblyman Rob Bonta, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, school board President Aimee Eng and City Councilmember Noel Gallo.

She is also endorsed by the International Association of Firefighters Local 55, National Union of Healthcare Workers, the Black Young Democrats of the East Bay and the John George Democratic Club.

Sheng Thao comes from a Hmong American family, which arrived in the U.S. as asylum seekers in the wake of the Vietnam War. A single mother and domestic violence survivor, she graduated from Merritt College and U.C. Berkeley.,

In an interview on ABC7, she said, “My campaign is a reflection on how I will govern…

Everyone in our community deserves to be part of the democratic process.”

Because she already has experience working on the council she said, “Our district will have a seat at the table on day one.”

Pam Harris  is running on a platform of dignity “a city where everyone who wants to live here can afford to be here; equity, a city with “a living wage, union jobs, and economic opportunities for all; and compassion, “shelter and basic services for all who need them.”

She has 25 years’ experience serving in the nonprofit, documentary film, and philanthropy sectors. Over the course of her career, she has worked in youth development, violence prevention, health care reform, LGBTQ rights, racial and socioeconomic inclusion, and fiscal management for nonprofits.

Pam Harris earned a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and a master’s degree in journalism from UC. Berkeley. She lives with her mother, her two children and her wife.

Her endorsements include Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington, Mayor Libby Schaaf, the Oakland Police Officers Association and the Sierra Club.

Joseph Simmons stands for “housing security, safe and secure neighborhoods, community beautification, transparent city government, community beautification and local business empowerment and promotion.

“We need to tackle some of the problems that are not being tackled (by) City Hall,” he said.

Simmons says he is deeply committed to help families who are “struggling to keep a roof over their heads.”

“Progress is great, but we need balance in our city,” he said in an interview on ABC7. “While we’re bringing new people in with new businesses, we also need to take care of the people here that we have under the bridges.”

“As the Senior Pastor of Greater St. Paul Church in Oakland for over 20 years, I have been on the front line of every societal problem from beginning to end of life,” he says on his website.


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