Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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Tuesday June 7, 2022 — California Primary Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 21

Photo of Giselle Hale

Giselle Hale

19,390 votes (19.8%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Addressing our housing and homelessness crises
  • Protecting our environment and combating climate change impacts like wildfire, drought and sea level rise
  • Creating opportunities for California’s families and children by fighting for childcare and addressing funding inequities in our schools



Profession:Redwood City Mayor / Advocate / Businesswoman
City Councilmember, Redwood City — Elected position (2018–current)
Mayor, Redwood City — Elected position (2021–current)


Thunderbird School of Global Management MBA, International Business (2007)
University of Wisconsin, Madison Bachelor of Arts, International Relations, Honors German Literature (2002)


Giselle Hale is a mom, advocate and businesswoman, who is currently the Mayor of Redwood City. She has built a reputation for hard work, collaboration and effectiveness, with the courage to take on tough problems and gets results.


Through a series of circumstances, Giselle's family went from being middle class to below the poverty line, facing food and housing insecurity and often relying on social programs to get by. Her experiences gave her a deep, personal understanding of the issues that too many local families face daily.


With the support of and inspiration from her family and teachers, along with hard work and perseverance, education was her pathway to success. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin and received her MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona.


Like her, Giselle’s husband Brian grew up struggling and living in poverty and was in-and-out of the foster care system for several years. They both could have been left behind if not for the generosity of their extended family, communities, and the support of the social safety net.


Giselle has built an impressive career as a businesswoman, owning her own small business as well as working for major companies. She’s held  senior and leadership positions, building and leading diverse, high-performing teams.


Before being elected to City Council, Giselle served on the Redwood City Planning Commission and on the Board of the Redwood City Education Foundation. She was also a leader with a national organization, helping secure sick days and parental leave for workers across the country.


On the City Council, Giselle has focused on important issues that affect local families, including creating economic opportunity, access to childcare, improving public schools and addressing the housing crisis. 


Giselle and Brian live in Redwood City with their two daughters, who they are teaching the importance of giving back to their community.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

What programs, proposals, projects, or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of all Californians?
Answer from Giselle Hale:

Any plan to address our ongoing water shortages must begin with the root cause of the problem: climate change. Severe drought is the new normal for our state because of climate change. And, as I mentioned above, I will make addressing our climate emergency a top priority. But the impacts of climate change are already here and we must deal with them now.


The state must do a better job of helping local governments and agencies meet their reduced water usage goals. That means fully funding programs to meet these goals and investing in local agencies to reduce water usage around the state from personal and industry use. That must include focusing on developing water conservation programs that actually make a real impact on preserving our water supply.


We must also invest in our water infrastructure, including new water storage and conveyance, that will help build our water supply and reduce water waste.. Our water treatment infrastructure must also be a priority.

Describe what proposal(s) you would support to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing for middle and low income people in California?
Answer from Giselle Hale:

Much of our state, the Bay Area in particular, is dealing with a longstanding housing affordability crisis. My husband and I faced this crisis head on after we first moved to the Bay Area when our landlord evicted us from our shared rental because he wanted to sell. We were lucky and found a way to buy our first home – but saw firsthand how easy it is, even for working professionals in the Bay Area, to fall victim to housing insecurity.


I have made addressing the crisis a top priority and have found solutions to make a difference for thousands of people in San Mateo County by creating more affordable housing and developing programs to help those experiencing homelessness find a real path to permanent housing. I worked with Assemblymember Phil Ting to write and pass AB 2553 that allows certain vehicles to park 24/7 and get off neighborhood streets into areas where we can help people residing in RVs into services and housing - a program that now all cities in California can leverage. On the Planning Commission and City Council, I worked to establish my City as the leader on housing production and policies. 


In the Assembly, I will continue this work towards creating affordable housing for people at all income levels and making homeownership more accessible.

What programs or strategies would you suggest to meet the educational needs of young, low-income Californians?
Answer from Giselle Hale:

I was raised by a single mother, facing food and housing insecurity and often relying on social programs to get by. Education was my path to success – I want to make sure my own kids and every student in California have the same opportunity. That's why I have worked to support public education even before I had kids of my own and our schools will be one of my top priorities in the Assembly. 


Although California has made significant investments in education over the last two years, we must continue to raise our per pupil education spending. I will advocate for increasing overall funding to make California among the top states in the nation for per pupil spending. I know how systemic funding inequities hit kids in the most need the hardest, so I will also fight for policies that ensure equity - every student deserves a top-quality education, no matter who they are or where they live. That includes programs that give kids an early start, such as free, universal pre-K and other high quality early learning programs, as well as making higher education more affordable. Finally, I will always be a voice for the most vulnerable kids, supporting programs that provide mental health services in our public schools and ensuring programs for students with special needs are prioritized.


Helping our kids also means helping ensure their parents can care for them. Kids with access to daycare and preschool have better outcomes than those who don’t. As a working mother, childcare has long been something that I deeply care about. In Redwood City, I held developers accountable for producing new child care seats in their developments. And I was an advisor with the National Partnership for Women and Families, helping to secure sick days and parental leave for workers across the country.



During the pandemic, I focused on childcare recovery. I joined forces with childcare advocates  across San Mateo County to champion the San Mateo County COVID Childcare Relief Fund, providing $5M in funding to nearly 300 childcare programs in San Mateo County, ensuring thousands of kids had proper care in these difficult times – and their parents could keep their jobs.

To reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, as set forth in a 2018 executive order what, if any, proposals, plans or legislation would you support?  Please be specific.
Answer from Giselle Hale:

This is perhaps the greatest challenge for our future and California must continue to be a worldwide leader as we approach the tipping point and see more and more real world impacts.


I have been an advocate for an equitable transition to a green economy and clean energy and addressing climate change and I will continue that work in the Assembly. As a board member of Peninsula Clean Energy, we are working to transition to clean energy while making sure it doesn’t increase energy costs and leave out underserved communities. I am also a firm believer in transit equity, which is why I helped build a local “E-Bikes for Everyone” program that emphasizes equity, getting e-bikes into communities and to people who can use them most (an ebike is much cheaper than a car!).


In the Assembly, I will be a champion for the transition to a clean energy economy, increasing our capacity for alternative energy sources, including wind and solar. I will also advocate for investing in technology and infrastructure that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, including electric vehicles, electrification and more.


We must also ensure that studies on the impact of climate change and environmental issues, including air and water pollution, include examining disadvantaged communities, which are often ignored.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $801,400

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

Employees of Meta, Inc.
Employees of DoorDash
Employees of Meta
Employees of Cisco Systems
Employees of Thumbtack

More information about contributions

By State:

California 92.56%
New York 2.93%
New Jersey 0.93%
Arizona 0.86%
Other 2.72%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.31%)
Small contributions (0.69%)

By Type:

From organizations (23.25%)
From individuals (76.75%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I am a lifelong Democrat who believes in the core values of our party. I consider myself a modern Liberal, I believe in equality, equity and standing up for working families and the most vulnerable in our community. And I am also a pragmatist. As an elected official, my job is to solve problems and actually make progress on issues and that requires collaboration, hard work, out of the box thinking and sometimes compromise. I also believe that we can help people and have a strong economy, we can support businesses and protect workers. These are false choices that we can move past.


As a community leader and elected official, my actions have resulted in real progress on problems that felt insurmountable. I have built a record of hard work, collaboration and effectiveness, with the courage to take on tough problems – and getting things done. I want to take that same approach to Sacramento and make a difference for people across San Mateo County and California.


I am running for Assembly because our community and state face big challenges and we need leaders who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to deliver for working families. We need leaders who understand the issues that face our local families and who care about delivering results, not just scoring political points.


I was inspired to serve by my life experiences. I want to help ensure local families and future generations have the same opportunities to succeed that I did. I know firsthand that “no” is not an option for working families, seniors, or anyone who starts each day wondering how to feed their family, pay their bills or keep loved ones safe.


As a candidate and elected official, it can be difficult to always stay true to yourself and do what you believe is right. There is always a temptation to tell each person or group what they want to hear and take inconsistent positions. It’s a path followed by too many politicians. But a good representative isn’t running just to win, they are running to stand up for what they believe. I am not afraid to speak truth to power.

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