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Tuesday June 29, 2021 — Special Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 18Short Term

Photo of Malia Vella

Malia Vella

Vice Mayor
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Ending Homelessness
  • Providing more affordable housing options for very low, low and middle income residents
  • Fighting climate change



Profession:Vice Mayor and Educator
Vice Mayor, Alameda — Elected position (2020–current)
City Council Member, City of Alameda — Elected position (2018–2020)
Vice Mayor, City of Alameda — Elected position (2016–2018)


Malia Vella, Vice Mayor of Alameda, was first elected to the city council in November 2016.  She was re-elected in November 2020 with the most votes ever received by any candidate for council.  Malia broke barriers upon her election – she was the first Filipina elected to the Alameda City Council and the only pregnant councilmember in the history of the city.  On Council, Malia has prioritized equity in policy decisions, addressing housing insecurity and ensuring a just economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A former District Director for Assemblymember Bill Quirk, Malia has a policy and constituent services background.  Since 2013, she has worked as a policy director and attorney focusing on labor and employment law.  Malia is also an adjunct professor of practice at Mills College’s Lorry I. Lokey School of Business and Public Policy.  She teaches ethical policy-making and an introductory class on economics and policy-making.

Active in the community, Malia serves on the Spectrum Community Services Board.  She previously served on Alameda’s Historical Advisory Board, the Alameda Family Services Board and the Alameda Family Services League.   Before assuming office, Malia also volunteered with the Philippine Independence Day Committee and Alameda’s Sister City Association.

Malia is a true product of the 18th Assembly District. She was born at Alameda Hospital and grew up in Alameda and San Leandro. Malia grew up enjoying Alameda’s parks and beaches with her family, spent her summers swimming with the San Leandro Drowning Darryls for a decade, and rowed on the estuary for the Oakland Strokes while attending high school in Oakland.  Her family came to Alameda in the 1960s when her grandfather was stationed at the Alameda Naval Air Station.  Now, Malia, and her husband Jon, are excited to pass along these traditions as they raise their two young children, Theo and Kealia in Alameda.

Malia is a graduate of Wellesley College, where she earned a B.A. in Architecture and Political Science.  She earned her J.D. with a special certificate in Public Interest and Social Justice at Santa Clara University School of Law.  Malia is a licensed attorney admitted to practice in California and the United States Supreme Court.

Malia is a member of the following organizations:

  • Alameda County Lead Abatement JPA
  • League of California Cities Housing and Economic Development Committee
  • Elected ADEM Delegate for AD18 (top vote-getter) and elected E-Board Representative for the district
  • California Democratic Party Fil-Am Caucus, Vice Chair
  • California Democratic Party API Caucus
  • California Democratic Party Labor Caucus
  • City of Alameda Democratic Club
  • Asian Pacific American Labor Association
  • Filipina Women’s Network
  • Filipino Bar Association of Northern California
  • California Employment Lawyers Association

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $401,600

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers Local Lodge 549
California State Council of Laborers
IBEW Local 551
IBEW Local 595
IBEW Local 6
LIUNA Local 304
Northern California Carpenters Regional Council
Operating Engineers Local 3
SEIU Local 721
Sheet Metal Workers Local 104
State Building & Construction Trades Council of California

More information about contributions

By State:

California 95.61%
District of Columbia 1.48%
Maryland 1.23%
Oregon 1.23%
Other 0.45%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.24%)
Small contributions (0.76%)

By Type:

From organizations (83.86%)
From individuals (16.14%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Malia Vella is a progressive who has prioritized equity in policy decisions, ensuring a just economic recovery from COVID-19 and addressing housing insecurity among the most vulnerable in our community.

Position Papers

Ending Homelessness


Malia understands that a holistic approach is needed to end homelessness. 

Malia understands that a holistic approach is needed to end homelessness and will build upon her success at the local level.  Malia established a collaboration with non-profits, community and faith-based organizations to provide outreach, support and services to the unhoused, including health and mental health care and substance abuse services. Malia also established mobile hygiene services including showers and laundry.  She is a member of the Leauge of Califorrnia Cities Housing and Economic Development Committee, where she advocates on housing and homelessness policies to state legislators.

Affordable Housing


Malia knows that housing security is foundational to healthy residents. 

Malia knows that housing security is foundational to healthy residents. Malia broke ground on affordable housing for all income levels at Alameda Point, including housing set aside for school district teachers and employees and 25% afffordable housing.  Malia also protected renters from steep rent hikes and unfair evictions. Malia serves on the League of California Cities Housing and Economic Development Committe, advocating on state housing policy.  

COVID-19 Response


During the pandemic, Malia Vella has focused on keeping residents safe and healthy and providing assistance to businesses and residents.  Now Malia is prioritizing a just economic recovery from COVID-19.

During the pandemic, Malia Vella has focused on keeping residents safe and healthy and providing assistance to businesses and residents.  Now Malia is prioritizing a just economic recovery from COVID-19.  On city council, Malia stepped up and provided steady leadership and real assistance to help residents struggling during this unprecedented time.  She secured and distribution free masks to residents, KN95 masks to hospital workers and face shields to the Fire Department.  Malia created a volunteer program to check in with seniors by phone and connect them with essential services.  To protect businesses and non-profits, Malia securied $600,000 in grants and rent relief and eased permiting and oher restrictions to allow businesses to adapt quickly to changing health directives and remain open.  Malia also supported a moratorium on rent hikes and evictions during the pandemic.  

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