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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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California State SenateCandidate for District 13

Photo of Mike Brownrigg

Mike Brownrigg

Burlingame City Councilmember
32,481 votes (11.6%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • My ACE Agenda -- Affordability, Climate and Education. On affordability, we need to expand housing options for teachers and essential service providers and expand transit, so the housing envelope can enlarge, and provide more daycare for families
  • Climate is Job One as well, and that means pulling carbon out of our energy stream by 2030 (highly ambitious but I have a plan and I think we can do it) and banning plastics that cannot be recycled.
  • On education, we need to focus on closing the achievement gap -- which starts by helping ALL kids be ready to learn in K with what I call a "conception to kindergarten" program. We need to drive more resources into k-12 classrooms as well.



Profession:Councilman (10 yrs), twice mayor, ex diplomat
City Councilman since 2009, twice Mayor; 8 years prior on Planning Com, City of Burlingame (council and planning), and formerly the United States of America (diplomat) — Elected position (2009–current)
Founding Partner, Middle Bridge Capital and also Total Impact Capital, Total Impact Capital (2009–2019)


Williams College, Massachusetts I obtained BAs in Economics and German. I then entered the US Foreign Service. (current)

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

Describe what proposal(s) you would support to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing for all income groups in California?
Answer from Mike Brownrigg:

We need to do three things aggressively: first, we need to produce more housing in our communities. I  am proud of my record in this regard; our city has just broken ground on 132 units of affordable housing in a 5 story building in the heart of our downtown, 54 for seniors, 78 for working famiies, and 82 of the units will be reserved for people making just 50% of Area Median Income (very low income). We ALSO have rezoned a formerly commercial/industrial area near BART for housing, and have over 600 units in the pipeline already. We are going to create a whole new neighborhood in our city. If you think either of these were easy to accomplish, then you don't know Burlingame. In fact, in the last 2 years our city has either built, approved or has in process over 2000 units, equivalent to a 15% uplift in housing units; that would be like San Francisco adding 60,000 units (they added 3000 last year). We are getting it done, and so are other cities on the Peninsula. We don't need SB50 to tell us how to do this. Second, we need a big state-funded plan to preserve existing de facto affordable housing, so that units which today are de facto affordable can be kept that way. I have a detailed plan for that. Finally, we need to invest heavily in transit so that the housing envelopes can be expanded around job centers and give people a reasonable quality of life/commute even if they live farther away. 

What programs or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of all Californians?
Answer from Mike Brownrigg:

I have a substantial plan to address water shortages and aquifer collapse in the central valley through simple, proven, highly effective agriculture tech investments. By my calculations, we could restore over 150 billion gallons of water annually to our rivers and aquifers at ZERO long term cost to the tax payer if we used structured finance and worked with our ag community. That is equivalent to about 450,000 acre-feet, or 10X the amount of water San Francisco uses each year. This is a huge opportuinity to restore our environment, rebuild (or at least stop destroying) our aquifers, AND keep our family farms in operation. BEYOND THAT, I call for moving quickly to 100% clean water to ALL commuities in California. This is a matter of investing capital in our infrastructure, and it is also a moral commitment to our residents.

To reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, as set forth in a 2018 executive order what, if any, proposals, plans or legislation would you support?  Please be specific.
Answer from Mike Brownrigg:

I do not agree with the target: as I have said repeatedly on the trail, this is much too late. We need to be carbon neutral (actually, carbon-free) by 2030. Here is the problem: if the richest, greenest government in the world -- namely the State of California -- cannot achieve carbon-free energy until 2045, then the rest of the country won't get there til 2075, and the developing world, where most of the emissions will come from, won't get there til 2100, and that is game over. We CANNOT let that happen. So I call for a three pronged approach: we must change demand (with a tax and dividend approach on fossil fuel energy), we must rapidly increase the supply of carbon-free energy and storage; and we must begin an aggressive plan of smart agriculture to begin sequestering carbon that is in the atmosphere. How would I get to carbon-free energy production by 2030? I would not just set the date and hope for the best; I would empanel a task force of environmentalist, financiers, energy experts and builders and give them the following task: in one year, detail for us how the State should provide 10 Gigawatts of carbon-free energy AND/OR storage by 2025 (this addresses the problem of not having solar power at night). And then we execute on that plan, whatever path they deem best. That would produce clean energy (or stroage) for about 50% of California's daily energy needs, which coincidentally is what natural gas currently produces in California. We will need to expand the scale over time as more transportation and buildings go "all electric", but this would put us on a firm and deliverable path to achieve Zero Carbon Energy by 2030. I get it....and I will get it done.

According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, we spend over $81,000 per individual who is incarcerated.  Other than incarceration, what ways can the State address safety and justice?
Answer from Mike Brownrigg:

I am very familiar with these numbers, having researched and argued for the high social AND financial "Return on Investment" our society gets from anti-recidivism programs in my private sector job. Indeed, I believe the quoted cost number is for male inmates; I nelieve the cost for incarcerating women is even higher, and for youth it is astronomical. I propose two major investments -- I propose investing significantly more capital in training for inmates and THEN supportive housing and jobs post-release. Expecting someone to get his or her life together without help is just expecting to see them again in the justice system. There are a number of VERY good programs for both youth and older individuals. We should invest in scaling them up. SECOND, I want to double the number of public defenders in our system. It is appalling how huge their caseloads are, and therefore individuals who need a defense lawyer but cannot afford one often get short shrift. This has to lead to worse outcomes for individuals, not to mention being terribly stressful to the attorneys. FINALLY, I am a big fan of restorative justice approaches, whereby those who are caught stealing or engaged in other non-violent crimes can work with the victims as a means to healing and learning. There need to be consequences to bad actions, but they do NOT need to involve jail necessarily.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $756,576

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Employees of Middle Bridge Capital
Employees of Anahita Lovelace
Employees of Green Diamond Resource Company
Employees of Legacy Health
Employees of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
IBEW Local 617

More information about contributions

By State:

California 94.13%
Washington 1.35%
Oregon 1.27%
Nevada 0.63%
Other 2.62%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.01%)
Small contributions (0.99%)

By Type:

From organizations (6.62%)
From individuals (93.38%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

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