Lawmaker Leads Election Reform

Kevin Mullin ’92 wants voters to know who pays for political ads

Kevin Mullin ’92 is the second most influential lawmaker in the California State Assembly and a champion of election and campaign finance reform.

In September, the speaker pro tempore celebrated his latest victory, having authored and passed a bill mandating that top donors be listed on campaign ads such as mass mailings, and TV and radio ads.

The Disclose Act “will result in the strongest campaign transparency and disclosure law in America,” Mullin said, when the bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in October.

Representing San Mateo County, just south of San Francisco, Mullin also paved the way for San Mateo County’s first all-mail ballot local election in 2015. Voter turnout jumped 15 percent to the highest rate in 15 years, reversing a trend of declining participation. The county repeated its all-mail voting process this year.

“When you factor in the taxpayer savings of operating fewer polling places, the benefits of an all-mail ballot election are significant,” says Mullin, who has authored eight election reform bills.

The communication studies alumnus says his Jesuit education is never far from his mind when it comes to politics. His passions include closing the wage gap between women and men and growing the Bay Area’s biotech and life sciences industry — which is largely based in San Mateo County.

“The way I legislate is very much in line with the Jesuit values I saw on display at USF,” Mullin says. “How do we make sure we have an inclusive democracy and an inclusive community in which economic opportunity is shared by all segments of society?”