Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 24

Photo of Vicki Veenker

Vicki Veenker

Technology Attorney/Mediator
77,362 votes (45.6%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Invest in Education. In Sacramento, I will fight to invest in education at all levels, from early childhood to higher education to prepare students for today's workforce.
  • Protect our Environment. I will be a champion for also reducing petroleum use, and resulting greenhouse gas emissions, by 50% by 2030.
  • Expand Economic Opportunity and Affordable Housing. We are in the midst of a housing crisis that we must address. Expanding economic opportunities, transportation systems, and housing options is an urgent need in our district and our state.



Profession:Technology Attorney/Mediator/Nonprofit Director
Founder & Principal, Veenker Law Offices (2013–current)
Mediator, U.S. International Trade Commission (2013–current)
Partner, Shearman & Sterling (2000–2013)
General Counsel, Women's Professional Soccer (2008–2010)
Partner / Associate, Fish & Neave (1988–2000)


Georgetown University J.D., Law (1988)
Indiana University B.A., Political Science (1985)
Indiana University B.S., Biochemistry (1985)

Community Activities

Board of Directors, Past President, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley (2003–current)
Director, Executive Board Member, Silicon Valley Arbitration & Mediation Center (2014–current)
Director, Great Decisions Discussions Series, Foreign Policy Association (2010–current)
Walk Team Captain, Walk to End Alzheimer's (2013–current)


Vicki has been working with Silicon Valley leaders for nearly 25 years to foster innovation and improve her community.

A leading patent attorney in Palo Alto, Vicki represents many of the Valley’s top innovators in matters involving new technologies and breakthrough life science inventions. Vicki’s clients have included a Nobel laureate, Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and a low-income custodian whom she represented pro bono in an ADA and employment case. Among other honors, California Law Business selected Vicki in 2002 as one of the state’s Top 20 Lawyers Under 40.

Vicki’s passion for providing equal opportunity for women and girls led her to help found Women’s Professional Soccer as General Counsel. Her work to give some of America’s most talented, hard-working athletes a “league of their own” provided a training ground for many members of the US women’s national team who went on to win the 2015 World Cup.

As a community leader, Vicki has served as President and more than a dozen years on the Board of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, which provides access to justice in underserved communities and fights poverty. The Law Foundation provides free legal services to low-income clients - such as foster youth and victims of predatory lending - through its five programs: Fair Housing, Mental Health Advocacy, Public Interest Law Firm, Legal Advocates for Children & Youth, and Health Legal Services.

As the daughter of two teachers, Vicki has a natural love of teaching and learning. That passion led her to serve as an Adjunct Professor at both UC Hastings College of the Law and Santa Clara University School of Law.

Additionally, Vicki currently serves on the Alzheimer’s Association Fund Development Committee for the Northern California and Northern Nevada chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Both the International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California have appointed Vicki to their mediation panels. Her work brokering compromises on complex technology issues led Vicki to be named on the inaugural list of the world’s leading technology neutrals by the Silicon Valley Arbitration and Mediation Center, which she now serves as a Director.

Who supports this candidate?

Elected Officials (55)

Individuals (28)

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and California Counts, a public media collaboration. (6)

Climate changes and the continuing drought worry many in California. What new strategies do you believe would ensure that California is able to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific. 
Answer from Vicki Veenker:

Leverage technology to reduce water use.  We can develop smart water grids similar to smart energy grids.  Knowing when your yard needs water or what corner of a farm needs water and what part does not, and then watering only when and where we need it, has been shown to reduce water use by up to 80%.  We should incentivize this kind of innovation to reduce demand, both through research and development tax breaks and subsidizing adoption of this technology.

Increase water recycling.  Water recycling plants are coming online in the Bay Area.  We need to propagate these efforts statewide to provide water for non-potable, and eventually potable, use.  In the meantime, we should encourage household greywater use for landscape and similar purposes.

Fix leaky infrastructure.  To ensure that we are not wasting water, outdated municipal water systems should be retrofitted to reduce and eliminate water loss.

Continue conservation efforts.  We developed some improved water use habits during our drought.  We should continue to educate our communities and our children how to respect and conserve our water supply. 

If we take these actions, we will reduce our demand on the water supply and do not need the Governor’s Delta water tunnel plan.   I oppose the $67 billion Delta tunnels which would drain more water from the Sacramento River Delta to send it down to southern California, doing unknown and likely irreversible environmental damage.  It is too expensive, too uncertain, and I believe in the ability of innovative and community-minded Californians to make it unnecessary. 


I stand with my endorsers in the environmental community (the Sierra Club, California League of Conservation Voters, California Environmental Justice Association, and others) in the fight against climate change, which threatens our water supply.  Sea level rise resulting from climate change can cause contamination of fresh water. I support fighting climate change by reducing green-house gas emissions through reducing fossil fuel use, a provision that was carved out of the landmark environmental legislation that passed this year.  I will work to put it back.

What are your top three fiscal priorities, recognizing the need to balance the state’s income with its spending?
Answer from Vicki Veenker:

1. Increasing funding for public education from preschool to college, so that we can close the achievement gap and better prepare our workforce for today’s economy
2. Incentivize innovation to reduce water use and fight climate change, while creating jobs in the sustainable technology industry
3. Expanding housing options, including by upgrading our transportation systems

If elected, what solutions do you propose to deal with the high cost of living in the Bay Area?
Answer from Vicki Veenker:

State Housing Bond.  The state needs to do its part to alleviate our growing housing crisis.  I support proposals for a housing bond that would provide funding for a range of affordable and middle income housing.  We need places for our workforce to live or we will soon find ourselves in communities lacking basic services.

Enforcing Housing Laws.  Housing laws must be enforced so that tenants aren’t evicted for wrongful reasons and landlords properly maintain the apartments that they lease.  We need to help tenants stay in the homes that they can afford.

 Transportation.  We need to improve public transportation options through a regional approach to allow Bay Area residents more flexibility in where they can live and still have a reasonable commute to work.  Putting new low and middle-income housing near transit corridors will also provide more affordable housing options.

There are a variety of proposals to raise California's minimum wage. Many of these proposals face opposition from business groups who are concerned that they would kill jobs. Do you support increasing the minimum wage in California?  In your answer please explain your position on the relationship between wages and jobs with specific reference to the situation in your district. 
Answer from Vicki Veenker:

I support both the state and local efforts that resulted in raising the minimum wage to $15 in the next few years.  Because of regional differences, namely that the Bay Area cost of living is higher than that of much of the state, it is appropriate that many of the cities here will reach that level more quickly than 2022 when the state minimum wage will hit $15. 


The State legislature put in appropriate safeguards to protect against unwanted economic impact by giving small business an extra year in which to comply and giving the Governor the ability to suspend increases in the event of an economic downturn.

Many Californians are concerned about the influence of money in politics. What can the state legislature do to ensure that decision-making by elected officials is not swayed by moneyed interests at the expense of constituents?
Answer from Vicki Veenker:

As of this writing, there have been over $2.5 million in independent expenditures supporting my opponent’s campaign.  There have been a fraction of that, $343K, supporting mine.  This outside money distorts the messaging between candidates and voters, as well as raises the specter of undue influence. 

The legislature should pass the DISCLOSE Act which failed by a single vote this past year, and the Governor should sign it.  It will increase transparency so voters know who is behind the messaging they hear.  In addition, I support efforts to overturn Citizens United. 


Finally, the amount of money required for campaigning is too high.  We should pursue systems for publicly financing campaigns as the ultimate method for reducing the influence of money in politics.

What steps are needed to improve region-wide transportation planning and the growing traffic congestion?
Answer from Vicki Veenker:

We need an improved regional approach to our traffic and transportation problem, where all stakeholders are at the table.  Currently, the conversation does not always cross county lines and parties dealing with the north-south Caltrain corridor are not always talking to those trying to solve east-west issues such as those involving the Dumbarton Bridge. The state should facilitate a regional approach. 

We need to have improved transportation systems that both ring the bay and cross the bay.  These include:

  • Caltrain electrification
  • Completing the BART extension to San Jose
  • Improving multimodal solutions, such as bicycle and pedestrian pathways
  • Ensuring a good handshake between transportation systems, e.g. bus and rail
  • Evaluating improved solutions for crossing the bay, such as whether to revive the Dumbarton Rail project
  • Locating new affordable and middle-income housing near public transportation


Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $743,463

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

Employees of VEENKER, VICKI
Employees of Stanford University
Employees of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Califonia Teachers Association
Mountain View Firefighters IAFF 1965

More information about contributions

By State:

California 95.73%
District of Columbia 1.61%
Hawaii 1.14%
New York 0.80%
Other 0.72%

By Size:

Large contributions (98.96%)
Small contributions (1.04%)

By Type:

From organizations (18.52%)
From individuals (81.48%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Videos (1)

— May 3, 2016 Vicki Veenker for Assembly 2016

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