Guillen Seeks Reelection to Represent His Diverse District

NAME: Abel Guillen
AGE: 43
DISTRICT 2, Lake Merritt
OPPONENTS: Nikki Bas and Kenzie Smith.

By Conduit Staff

OAKLAND -- As Oakland City Council Member for District 2, Abel Guillén has spent the past four years working to improve the quality of life for district residents. He organized over 50 members of the Building Trades Council to make much needed repairs to the playground, bathroom, and soccer field at San Antonio Park, so that working families would have a safe place for their children to play.

He championed Measure KK, the June 2016 bond measure that provides $600 million for affordable housing, park and road improvements, and bicycle and pedestrian safety, among other priorities. Guillén also secured an $80,000 city grant to fund for Laney College’s Carpentry Department to design and build “tiny house” prototypes for homeless community college students.

Guillén has secured the endorsement of the Building Trades Council, Oakland Firefighters, Latino Task Force, and League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay, as well as a wide range of community leaders and elected officials because of the achievements during his first term, and because of his focus on affordable housing, job training and employment opportunities for city residents. “We want to protect our existing neighbors from being priced out of the city,” he says.

To ensure city residents benefit from new development, he authored legislation that puts the city council on the record in support of community workforce agreements. These agreements will prioritize local hire and construction job training for disadvantaged Oakland residents. Guillén says the combination of this new city policy and funding from Measure KK will ensure city projects generate good, middle class jobs for city residents.

“We rely on working family champions to ensure developers are held accountable, and to set standards that ensure projects are built by a local skilled Union workforce,” said Andreas Cluver, Secretary-Treasurer of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County. “Oakland City Councilmember Abel Guillén has been that champion for us on Oakland City Council.”

While working on priorities with citywide impact, he remains focused on the needs of working families in District 2, which stretches from Lake Merritt through the neighborhoods of Bella Vista, Cleveland Heights, East Lake and San Antonio. As the son of immigrant parents, he said he’s proud to represent “the most diverse city council district in Oakland,” where no fewer than 52 languages are spoken.

In the East Lake–Brooklyn Estates–San Antonio neighborhoods, Guillén says his top priorities are eliminating blight and illegal dumping, and addressing street crime and the sexual exploitation of women and youth. And he is working to ensure the Police Department reflects Oakland’s diverse population by securing funding to help the department recruit and retain police of color.

Guillén is working with the Asian Pacific Islander community to support Chinatown’s merchants, small businesses and nonprofit service providers. He has secured financial support for community-led efforts to improve city parks and increase pedestrian safety around the district’s public schools. “All neighborhoods need safe playgrounds, schools, and streets.”

Finally, he’s proud of his endorsement from the League of Conservation Voters. “Whether it’s sea-level rise, wild fires, or transportation,” said Guillén, the issues facing Oakland residents are tied to environmental quality and environmental justice.

“People I work with on a daily basis in these neighborhoods have seen the improvements I’ve brought to every corner of District 2. I want to keep that progress going,” he said.


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