Rebecca Kaplan

Alameda County Board of Supervisors, District 3

Rebecca will be the first out LGBTQ member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors!

Biography

Rebecca attended MIT as an undergraduate, where she helped lead multiple student organizations and mobilize to change university policies. She also has a master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. She came out at the age of 17, and, as an undergraduate, worked to organize and run the student LGBTQ group, at M.I.T., which successfully fought to get her university to adopt sexual orientation nondiscrimination policies. Rebecca was one of the first openly-LGBT students actively organizing on her campus, at a time when many were in the closet, and successfully worked to bring LGBT studies courses, HIV education, condom distribution, and to push university leaders to publicly support LGBT rights.

Prior to her work as an elected official, Rebecca worked for Prisoner Legal Services, served the local community as a housing rights attorney in Oakland, and worked representing workers with the law firm Altshuler Berzon. Her educational background also includes a Certificate in Women in Politics and Government from Boston College.

In 2002, she was elected to serve on the AC Transit Board of Directors, where she built regional collaboration to expand late-night service and provide zero-emission buses, and install solar power, and bicycle racks on buses, and for in-sourcing of services that had been privately run, and to ensure fair treatment of the workforce. She was elected to the Oakland City Council in 2008, as the city-wide Council member. In January 2021, she was unanimously selected by her colleagues as Vice Mayor. In addition, Rebecca serves as Oakland’s representative on the Alameda County Transportation Commission, where she helped write and pass Measure BB, which creates many thousands of quality local jobs while improving our transit, bicycle and pedestrian access. She served on the board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, fighting for stronger policies on air pollution and against the concentration of toxins on our hard hit communities, and winning funding for local air quality improvements, such as hybrid-electric Port equipment, bike stations, free transit shuttle, and cleaning up heavily-polluting diesel trucks.

In her professional life, as well as in her activism, Rebecca has continued to work for the needs of her community, including changing the youth program funding distributions of the City of Oakland to include programs for LGBTQ youth, abolishing old discriminatory laws that were still on the books when she was elected, and working to get other LGBTQ people appointed to other leadership positions, and improving equity in city contracting and hiring. She worked with community partners to bring transgender awareness and trainings to the Oakland police department, and to respond to negative stereotyping that had taken place. She brings to her work on other issues, such as homelessness, an awareness of the disparities faced by LGBTQ people, and the need for services, such as homeless shelters, to include support for people of all genders and orientations.

Rebecca was the first openly-LGBT person to run for office in Oakland and has often personally been the bridge to those who needed to learn more about our communities. If elected, she would become the first ever openly-LGBT member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

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