Roman Reed, a Fremont planning
commissioner, is eyeing a run at
State Senate next year.

STATE SENATE | 10th DISTRICT | During a college football game in late 1994, Roman Reed laid prone on the gridiron at Chabot College after delivering a hit. The accident rendered him paralyzed, yet nearly two decades later, his inspiring story of perseverance just may shake up what many believed was two-horse race for the State Senate’s 10th District race next year featuring Mary Hayashi and Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski.

Reed, a Democrat, who served as a Fremont planning commissioner since 2010, told EBC he is strongly considering a run next year for the seat that stretches from Castro Valley and San Lorenzo to portions of San Jose and Santa Clara. Although, Reed was rumored to be contemplating a run for the State Legislature, which office he would seek was unclear. Campaign finance accounts, in fact, were opened by Reed for both the State Senate and Assembly.

A race initially viewed as a matchup between Wieckowski’s good-natured aloofness and Hayashi’s bare-knuckled, yet tarnished reputation, suddenly has an unexpected human interest story without precedent in the entire Bay Area. In a Facebook message Thursday, Reed said he is not ready to officially announce his candidacy, but added, “We must win. Lives actually do depend on our success.”

His choice of facing two well-financed Democrats like Hayashi, who sits on over $732,000 in campaign contributions, and Wieckowski, with over $76,000 and growing, is bold move and filled with troves of interesting angles. Hayashi is still stinging from a clear rebuke by voters last year in her race for Alameda County supervisor that followed her embarrassing shoplifting charge in 2011. In addition, while Wieckowski will likely pull precious union support and contributions away from Hayashi, his two terms in the Assembly are relatively uneventful. There is also a view in Fremont that he had lost control of his staff over the past year and, in turn, alienated some supporters in the area’s growing South Asian communities.

Reed’s candidacy could be viewed as an affront to Wieckowski, too. Just this year, a bill sponsored by Wieckowski to designate $1 million to fund the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research program at the University of California sailed through the Legislature. However, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill last October saying the UC is better suited to fund these types of research projects. In 2011, Wieckowski was also unsuccessful in funding the program with a bill that would have tacked $3 to all traffic tickets for spinal cord injury research.