Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski

STATE SENATE | DISTRICT 10 | Roman Reed, the newest candidate for next year’s 10th State Senate race, says the impetus for his surprise run started with the realization Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski couldn’t pass muster when it comes to enacting important state legislation to fund stem cell research.

Reed, who was partially paralyzed nearly 20 years ago during a football game at Chabot College, is a national leader in the push to help disabled people restore some physical functions, or maybe even find a cure. Reed is also chair of the Fremont Planning Commission.

On Thursday, Reed said, former state legislators John A. Dutra and Alberto Torrico, who represented many of the same East Bay voters in the current 10th District, both successfully moved stem cell-related bill into law while in office. “But, Bob Wieckowski? He’s 0-for-3,” he said. “We can’t afford to wait around while there are lives to be saved.”

In recent years, Wieckowski failed to procure the governor’s signature on two bills to fund the Roman Law Spinal Cord Injury Research Act. Both bills attracted significant support in the Legislature and passed both houses before falling short.

Roman Reed

Reed said he was dismayed earlier this year when Wieckowski neglected to send a representative to speak on the issue before the State Senate Appropriations Committee. Reed says he found a speaker, but added, “How can you rely on a constituent to do something like that?”

Next month, Reed’s philanthropic work will be honored by the Genetic Policy Institute at a banquet in San Diego for his advocacy in stem cell research and helping to raise over $14 million in funding for the Roman Reed Foundation.

In addition to Wieckowksi, former Assemblymember Mary Hayashi is also a likely challenger in the sprawling district that runs from Castro Valley to portions of San Jose. Reed believes his uplifting story, in addition, to a belief among some observers, he could greatly benefit by splitting the vote between Wieckowski and Hayashi, makes him a formidable candidate. But, when it comes to the perception Wieckowski is next in line for the senate seat, Reed repeated the mantra, “It’s not who’s first in line, it’s who’s best in line.”

In fact, some are beginning to compare this current election scenario to the 2006 Democratic State Senate primary between Dutra, Johan Klehs and Ellen Corbett. (See note below.)  Incidentally, Reed says Dutra, Klehs and Torrico are a few of his biggest supporters. In that famous local race, Corbett ultimately won despite languishing somewhat late in a race that turned ugly.

On Election Day, Corbett took over 38 percent of the vote, but her challengers also garnered over 30 percent each. It’s an outcome Reed hopes will work out in his favor come June.

NOTE: Klehs said Sunday, he is not supporting Reed for the State Senate. On Thursday, Reed called Torrico and Klehs two of his biggest supporters. “I have never had any discussion with Roman Reed regarding his run for State Senate, can’t remember when I spoke to him last, and have no idea how to reach him in the first place,” said Klehs