Gene Mullin, former teacher, South San Francisco mayor and California State Assembly member, died last week. Coastsiders who worked alongside Mullin remember his kindness above all.

A South San Francisco resident and San Mateo County history buff, Mullin’s legacy in the halls of Sacramento is as an advocate for education and affordable housing. But long before he began his career in local government as a member of the South San Francisco Planning Commission back in 1972, Mullin was a teacher.

“You couldn't find someone who didn't know Gene Mullin,” said Chris Hunter, who worked as editor of the Pacifica Tribune while Mullin was in office. Hunter later went to work for the assemblyman during his final year in office. “It’s a real loss to San Mateo County.”

While representing the 19th District in the California State Assembly, which at the time encompassed the entire Coastside and Northern Peninsula, Mullin chaired the housing and biotechnology committees and sat on several others, including the education committee.

He was an avid listener and learner, and earned the respect of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, Hunter remembers. Mullin had a unifying effect, bringing in new ideas from far and wide to build a stronger future for the Coastside and help improve local cities, taking a special interest in local history and parks. Hunter said he wanted to continue that work, and would have, if it weren’t for term limits at the time.

“He wished he could have continued,” Hunter said. “He had reached a level of prominence that was important to California, the assembly, and to Gene.”

Mullin won a 2004 Pantheon Award for his public support of the sciences and a 2005 League of California Cities Legislator of the Year Award for leading the

region on housing issues. His work to pass Measure K has pumped millions in local tax dollars into affordable housing countywide, MidPen Housing Corporation Policy Director Nevada Merriman wrote in a San Mateo Daily Journal opinion piece last week.

His son, Kevin Mullin, continues his father’s work, having served in the California State Assembly since 2012 representing District 22, which encompasses Pacifica and much of the Peninsula.

Susan Kennedy, Kevin Mullin’s communications director who worked for the elder Mullin earlier on in his career, remembers him as a tireless advocate for civic education. It’s a baton he saw passed to his son last year when he got a measure to enfranchise 17-year-olds set to turn 18 before the general election on the ballot. But Mullin’s legacy is not in what he did, but in how he did it — and she hopes his kindness and generosity will continue to touch the lives of Coastsiders.

“It lives on in his kids, Kevin and Jennifer, and it will live on in his grandkids and with those of us who were fortunate enough to work with or for him,” Kennedy said.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

More Stories

  • 0

CoastPride, a Half Moon Bay-based organization dedicated to providing services and programs designed to advance the local LGBTQ+ community, has a new home. The nonprofit has established a community center on Main Street in Half Moon Bay.

  • 0

Entering his 19th year as a head coach of varsity basketball at the high school level, including 11 at Terra Nova, Kenny Milch has announced his retirement from coaching. His last game will coincide with the end of this season.

  • 0

The city of Pacifica announced on Wednesday that it plans to reopen much of the storm-whipped Pacifica Pier at on Friday. The pier has been closed since Jan. 14 after high winds and waves damaged a 40-foot section.

  • 0

A couple of new state laws prompted the Pacifica City Council to revise its campaign disclosure summary form and to reduce its campaign contribution limits.

  • 0

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has fallen short in recent years with investments aimed at financing money needed to pay retirees. Cities in San Mateo County, including Pacifica, face annual shortfalls as a result, said City Manager Kevin Woodhouse.

  • 0

New maps released this month reveal heightened tsunami risk to coastal neighborhoods in Pacifica and down the coastline. The maps, last updated in 2009, use new data and computer modeling to show a worst-case scenario — a magnitude 9.3 earthquake in the eastern Aleutian Islands off Alaska.

  • 0

The new role of chief financial sustainability officer for the city of Pacifica will be filled by veteran public administrator Yulia Carter. The new position combines the duties of the finance director with economic development manager.

  • 0

City Council appointed several people to fill vacancies on the Beautification Advisory Committee, the Open Space and Parkland Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission on March 8. All were unanimous votes.

  • Updated
  • 0

California state officials announced today that anyone over 50 will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine on April 1, and all residents over 16 will be eligible on April 15. Plus, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced any family members taking eligible people to get their shots are also now eligible to g…

Recommended for you