Lawyer by trade and animal advocate to the core, Bryan Pease has no shortage of accomplishments under his belt. The San Diego, CA resident co-founded the influential nonprofit Animal Protection and Rescue League while still in law school, and continues to use his legal expertise to fight for animal welfare. Between campaigning on behalf of seals in the La Jolla area—in 2009, Pease won a federal court order protecting their habitat from destruction—and serving on the Board of Directors of the Ocean Beach People’s Organic Foods Market, Pease has been hard at work campaigning for City Council, a position he hopes will further his progressive cause. We caught up with this hardworking political hopeful, as he counts down the hours until June 5’s primary election.
VegNews: What are the central points of your platform?
Bryan Pease: I stand for open government, accountability, transparency, and fiscal responsibility. I am particularly against corporate welfare in the form of bailouts and handouts to the wealthy one percent. The push toward privatization of city pensions and services—which both the incumbent and her wealthiest challenger favors—is sold as a way to benefit taxpayers, but it actually ends up benefiting special interests and costing the public.
VN: How has your background as an animal-welfare activist and lawyer informed your political aspirations?
BP: I have been involved in activism for environmental, animal, and human rights for the better part of two decades, and I have been a lawyer for about a third of that time. The difference in the level of impact I was able to have as an activist versus what I am able to accomplish as a lawyer has been astounding to me. This is my first foray into electoral politics for public office, and I can already see the potential to have a similarly greater impact than what I am accomplishing now.
VN: How has the community responded to your campaign?
BP: Community response has been overwhelmingly positive. A new 100-percent organic, plant-based restaurant in San Diego called Casa de Luz even painted a chalk portrait of me on their wall encouraging people to support my campaign. The June 5 election is an open primary, meaning everyone can vote for whichever candidate they want regardless of party affiliation. There are four candidates in this race, and if I can finish in the top two, then I will be in the runoff in November.
VN: What are the most important things you’ve learned through this process?
BP: The most important thing to take away from the election process is that simply being part of the process is important. Those who contributed to my campaign will be happy to know that this enabled me to send literature to voters addressing the issues that probably motivated these donations in the first place. I have also been able to discuss the issues in debates and forums, and with other elected officials who look at me differently and are more open now that I am a candidate and know what it’s like for them. There are two other very progressive and animal-friendly candidates on the ballot with me who VegNews readers should know about: Bob Filner for Mayor, and Lori Saldaña for the 52nd Congressional district. Get out to vote June 5!