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Mills to host District 6 candidate debate

The five candidates running for the position of Oakland City Council Representative for District 6 will participate in a debate at Mills College moderated by President Hillman on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

The debate will take place at Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business and Public Policy from 7–8:30 p.m. The candidates are Marlo Rodriguez, Loren Taylor, Mya Whitaker, Mills alum Natasha Middleton and Incumbent Desley Brooks. The debate is open to the general public and there will be a chance for questions from the audience at the end.

Brooks will have served for 16 years as a council member at the end of her current four year term. Although Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has criticized her by comparing her to Donald Trump, Brooks still has a sizable group of supporters.

“As an elected official my main function is to be a representative for my constituency, advocate for their needs and support the voices of the communities I have the privilege of serving,” Brooks said on the City of Oakland website.

Four other candidates are running against Brooks and this could be her last term in office. Rodriguez is a first-generation Filipino American and has worked as a Registered Nurse. She is running to advocate for the LGBTQ community, more housing options and safer neighborhoods. Rodriguez is advocating for more resources to be distributed to District 6.

“The mayor just rolled out a repaving plan, but it wasn’t equitable to D6,” Rodriguez said, as reported by the Oakland Magazine.

Taylor has a history of working in nonprofits and social justice groups, working to fight poverty, reduce violence, create opportunity and improve education. Taylor is a father of two and is currently a youth soccer coach and PTA President at his child’s school.

“I’m running for City Council because I want to ensure all Oaklanders have the chance to create better lives for themselves and their children,” Taylor said on his website.

Whitaker graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in communications and is currently a counselor for foster youth in Alameda County. Whitaker is also a mother and advocates for more resources for District 6.

“There’s no parks, no grocery stores,” Whitaker said, as reported by the Oakland Magazine. “There’s nothing for us here to raise our children.”

Middleton graduated from Mills College with a master’s in public policy after returning to school as a working mom. Middleton is running to fight gentrification, sex-trafficking and violence.

General elections for the city council, mayor and auditor for the city of Oakland will be held on Nov. 6.