Days after picking up an important endorsement from Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, Lena Tam officially announced Wednesday her candidacy to replace her.

“I believe my leadership and experience on the City Council, on the Alameda Health Care District Board, and on the Alameda County Planning Commission have prepared me to tackle the challenges facing Alameda County in the face of a growing State budget deficit that threatens County programs and services,” Tam said in a statement.

Lai-Bitker announced in December she would not seek re-election citing a need to spend time with her family.

Tam now sits strong in a still developing field of candidates for the District 3 seat, which include former Assemblywoman and county supervisor Wilma Chan and Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson. Political whispers still persists around former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young and Oakland Assemblyman Sandre Swanson helping to form the composition of the race.

As it stands, Tam now holds an important card over the others with the support of Lai-Bitker and the influential Asian community in Chinatown that makes up the district’s northern border along with the entire Board of Supervisors’ power center in Oakland, slices of which form the majority of the board’s seats.

Tam currently sits on the Alameda City Council and served two years as vice mayor. Before that she was an Alameda County Planning Commissioner from 2000-2005 and president of the Alameda Hospital Board for four years. Her experience with hospital governance will likely become an issues with the fate of San Leandro Hospital in question, which lies within District 3.


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