This article does not imply endorsement. Our endorsement vote is currently in progress. Results to be posted on August 19.
(Benicia, CA) – Benicia’s election season was kicked off last Tuesday with one of the first candidate forums of the 2020 campaign, featuring notable absences by mayoral candidate Christina Strawbridge and city council candidate Tom Campbell.
The online, well-attended forum presented mayoral candidate Steve Young, along with Terry Scott and Trevor Macenski, both candidates for our local city council. Each candidate responded to a series of questions from the Progressive Democrats group and then host Maggie Kolk fielded questions from the attendees via chat.
[If you have time, check out the ZOOM video recording of the forum for candidate statements, questions and answers.]
It was clear that the candidates in attendance are extremely knowledgeable on the issues facing Benicia. The rich exchange of ideas informed not only the members attending but the candidates themselves on the differences of opinions and experience.
Councilman Young stated that he brought four decades of local government experience as well as his service to Benicia in serving on the local planning commission for four years and as Vice Mayor for two years and another two years as a council member.
Terry Scott shared his experience as Senior Vice President, Global Head of Creative Services for Hasbro and his work as a futurist in understanding the needs of an aging Benicia moving forward. Scott also currently serves as the chair of Benicia’s Arts and Culture Commission but mentioned that he wants to be known as more than the “art guy.”
Vice Chair of Benicia’s Planning Commission Trevor Macenski demonstrated his professional experience in environmental and city planning and excelled at answering questions on those issues.
There was agreement on most issues, such as the need for fiscal responsibility and budget adjustments to the City’s fiscal outlook to prepare for the financial impacts of the pandemic. All agreed that assistance to Benicia businesses, affordable housing, and running clean campaigns should be a priority.
About racial injustice concerns raised during recent peaceful protests in Benicia, all candidates supported Police Chief Erik Upson’s Plan and community engagement, and said they would continue discussions with him on these concerns after elected.
Candidates Young and Scott agreed that Benicia needs an Industrial Safety Ordinance, which would hold Valero’s Benicia refinery more accountable to our community. Macenski, however, said Benicia did not need an ISO given the existing communication channels between Valero and the City. While Young and Scott agreed that they would reject another Crude-by-Rail project, Macenski said no but also indicated he would be open to projects that enhanced the refinery’s ability to do business “within their existing use permit.”
On the day that presidential candidate Joe Biden announced his Vice Presidential pick of Kamala Harris, all candidates registered their support for the Democratic ticket at the very top.
Although the question wasn’t asked at the forum, the council candidates have gone on record as Scott supporting Steve Young and Macenski supporting Christina Strawbridge for mayor.
“It was a great discussion with the three candidates and on issues that the next Council will be facing,” said PDB Chair Ralph Dennis. “The meeting was well attended with over 50 local voters joining our on-line meeting. It was too bad and extremely disappointing that two Democratic candidates chose not to face the questions asked by the community,” Dennis added.
The Progressive Democrats of Benicia, a chartered club of the Solano County Democratic Central Committee, will announce their endorsements on August 19, after online voting has been tallied.
For more information on the candidates featured at the forum visit: