Former congressman and liberal Democrat Ronald V. Dellums officially joined the Oakland mayoral race last Friday during a meeting with supporters at Laney College. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the 69-year-old Oakland native, well known for his dual role as chairman of the congressional Armed Forces Committee and a staunch peace activist, had planned on declining the offer to run. He said he changed his mind once he saw the faces in the audience.
“I responded to something I saw in the eyes of people in there,” Dellums said. “I encountered the pain, hope and a desire to be inspired.”
Dellums primary competition includes Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente and Councilwoman Nancy Nadel. According to an article by the Associated Press, two other candidates said on Friday that they would drop-out of the race after Dellums’ announcement.
If elected, Dellums will succeed current mayor Jerry Brown, returning to political office for the first time since retiring from congress in 1998. During his 27 years as a representative, Dellums fought for the end of apartheid, served as Chair of the Presidential Council on AIDS and introduced a national healthcare plan.
According to an article by the Associated Press, Dellums’ campaign might focus on universal health coverage and fighting poverty in the area. “Let’s have a moratorium on the madness,” he said. The election will occur in 2006.