By Steven Tavares

Assemby candidate (AD18)
Dr. Jennifer Ong
Hayward optometrist Dr. Jennifer Ong is the first declared candidate hoping to replace Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi when her term expires in 2012.

The Alameda County and Hayward commissioner announced her candidacy for 18th assembly district last week. Ong’s last attempt at some form of political office ended last June when she lost out for a seat on the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee in the 18th assembly district.
Ong owns a optometry practice in Alameda and serves on the County Commission of the Status of Woman. She is also an appointed member of the Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force and one of the more visible Filipina Americans in the East Bay.

Earlier this year, Ong was elected by local Democrats as a delegate to the state convention held this April. She was part of the Hayashi-led slate that swept the election. Hayashi was also listed as a backer of Ong’s campaign for central committee, which could set up an interesting play for the assemblywoman’s blessing with likely candidate Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk on the cusp of running. In the past, Quirk has been politically linked Hayashi’s good graces.

Quirk said he awaiting results of the state’s redistricting committee before making any official announcements for 2012, but recent comments reveal it to be a good bet for his inclusion.

Results from the 2010 Census will likely result in the loss of one Bay Area congressional seat, although it is unlikely to be purloined from the 18th or 20th districts. But, if the borders of the 18th continue to spill east towards the fast-growing Tri-Valley, it may also attract the attention of Dublin Mayor Tom Sbranti, according to sources in the district. Many expect a large field for the assembly seat termed-out in 2012 as nearly every local state and congressional offices up for grabs in the next three years. Ultimately this will lead to one big, ugly political version of musical chairs in an area near you.