Sen. Pan is a champion for health care

Delegates cheer during the California Democratic Party convention in Sacramento in May 2017.
Delegates cheer during the California Democratic Party convention in Sacramento in May 2017. Sacramento Bee file

Richard Pan is a pediatrician and educator who has admirably represented our region in the state Senate, standing up for the health and safety of working families. As a life-long Democrat, he is asking for the party endorsement on Saturday.


Pan is a fearless champion for our children and community who authored a landmark vaccine bill. He is not afraid to stand up to special interests and demand sound science in policy-making, a quality we sorely need when too many politicians deny climate change and other scientific truths to pursue their ideological goals.

In contrast, Derek Cressman promotes his candidacy in an op-ed claiming that Pan does not deserve the Democratic Party endorsement because he does not share the party’s values (“Democrats must back single-payer health care,” Viewpoints, Jan. 26).

As vice-chairwoman of the California Democratic Party, not only do I know that Pan shares our values, but I am also taken aback by the irony of Cressman’s statements.

In my view, the Democratic Party values public service and standing up for the marginalized, and we represent the working class over moneyed elites. Pan is a son of immigrants and has devoted his entire career serving the public and to those in need, and he certainly did not wait until running for office to start working for his community.

Pan co-founded Healthy Kids Healthy Future to secure health, dental, and vision coverage for more than 65,000 children in the Sacramento region. In the Legislature, he spearheaded the effort to implement the Affordable Health Care Act in California. Pan believes health care is a human right, not a privilege, and he as worked at the forefront to extend health care to everyone.

I cannot help but wonder about Cressman’s lack of participation in Democratic Party organizations. Further, Cressman’s wealth allowed him to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a previous campaign, but I don’t think that’s a Democratic value. As Democrats, we must ask ourselves: Should a candidate be at a disadvantage because he or she does not have the privilege of wealth?

Pan not only shares the values of the Democratic Party, he lives them everyday. If we truly value health care for all, we need someone whose intimate understanding of both health care delivery and policy has already helped make health care a right for millions of Californians.

Alexandra Gallardo-Rooker is first vice-chairwoman of the California Democratic Party. She can be contacted at