Senate majority leader faces GOP challenger

In his bid for a third term, Democratic state Sen. Mike McGuire is facing off with Republican challenger Gene Yoon in the June 7 primary race to represent the North Coast district.

First elected to the 2nd District seat in 2014 and now serving as Senate leader, the 42-year-old incumbent from Healdsburg said he is seeking reelection because there are several significant challenges facing the state and region, from housing to climate change to homelessness .

“There is a lot of work in front of us,” McGuire said. “Our state and nation are facing big challenges, but no matter what has been thrown at us here in Marin County, we have never stopped moving forward. I’m a firm believer that Marin is one of the most innovative regions in this nation and we’ve got a lot of work to do north of the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Yoon, a 51-year-old resident of Cobb in Lake County, is a first-time candidate for public office who has worked in a variety of careers, including law, finance and for technology companies such as Google.

A large focus of his campaign involves reforms to address the polarization and demonization that he says are the top problem in politics today. Yoon said both of the major parties are broken and have not put forth an agenda that can be embraced by the vast majority of the American public.

“I don’t believe anything that anyone else tells me and I certainly don’t follow the directions of the Republican National Committee. I don’t care what they have to say,” Yoon said.

“I’m running on my own holdings and I’m running my own skills. I just asked to be compared for real against the incumbent. I’m not saying anything bad about this guy,” he said. “I’m just asking, look at him, look at me, think about what you want to have happen in this world and ask, ‘Who can do this?”

Yoon outlined three main priorities in his platform. The first is to prohibit any organization that does business with the government from being able to donate to state political campaigns.

“Fundamentally, nothing can work in government if what we have is a system that is just based on graft, and that is what we have today,” Yoon said.

He is also calling for increased civics education in schools and greater regulation and oversight of larger technology companies.

McGuire said one of his top priorities is homelessness and housing issues. He said the state has already invested $50 million in Marin communities to build permanent supportive housing for homeless people.

“The homelessness crisis is appalling and unacceptable,” McGuire said. “We’re working day and night with Marin County communities along with the county itself on getting folks permanently housed and off the street and connected to addiction and mental health services.”

McGuire said he does not believe the state’s directive to have Marin build 14,000 new homes through 2031 is a realistic target and says the focus should be on creating more workforce housing, such as the proposed Village at Oak Hill project near San Quentin.

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