Alana Mathews, a former Sacramento County prosecutor and a candidate for county district attorney in the June election, recently spoke about her campaign’s top issues.
She and her opponent, Thien Ho, are seeking to succeed Sacramento County’s current district attorney, Anne Marie Schubert, who announced last year that she will run for California attorney general.
Among the issues Mathews identified as most important to her is reducing gun violence.
“Getting guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them (is a priority),” she said.
The candidate stressed that this issue is also associated with domestic violence.
“You see a lot of times violence is in the news where it’s related to women or women are the targets, and crime is related to that,” she said. “And I will say that I’m a survivor of that, so I understand what it’s like.”
Mathews also shared her thoughts on incarceration.
“I believe strongly that there’s only been one main tool in the Sacramento County DA’s office and that’s incarceration,” she said. “I believe we can’t incarcerate our way to safety. So we can’t just react to crime with being in the courtroom. We have to have prevention and intervention strategies.”
She added that she is interested in diversion programs for low-level offenders.
Mathews mentioned that her decision to run for the DA seat was based on her feeling that Sacramento County was headed in the “wrong direction.”
“I could see what we’re seeing today, in that crime, you turn on the news and you see the headlines, someone being stabbed or shot,” she said.
It is also a priority for Mathews to hold violent and serious offenders accountable to the fullest extent of the law, she noted.
“I want my community safe just like everyone else does,” she said.
Mathews noted that she desires to be attentive to the cities of Galt and Isleton.
“I think the individuals in Galt and Isleton, they all seem to get left out,” she said. “Their voice is not included in the policies and priorities of the DA’s office. Their concerns about the criminal justice system need to be included.”
One of the things that Mathews desires to do is visit those communities directly to hear their concerns.
She told the Herald that two difficult life experiences helped prepare her for her run for the DA seat.
Mathews mentioned that she grew up in Gary, Indiana, “one of the murder capitals of this country.” She recalled that she was accosted by several young men while she was attending a college preparatory school in Muncie, Indiana.
“(They) called me the N-word and the B-word,” said Mathews, who is Black.
Mathews also said that when she was 14, she and some of her friends were shot at in a drive-by shooting.
“They just sprayed the bullets in our direction, and we all just immediately dropped, and nobody was injured,” she said. “That just emphasized to me how important it was to really stay out of trouble and stay in my books, and that’s what I did.”
Mathews noted that she attended Selma College, a private, historically Black, women’s liberal arts college, where she graduated as an honors student and met her now-former husband, who is the father of her three children.
In the mid-1990s, Mathews moved to Sacramento, where her then-husband grew up and served as a youth pastor.
As a stay-at-home mother, Mathews attended Sacramento’s McGeorge School of Law during the evenings. She earned her Juris Doctor degree in 2003 and her Master of Law degree, both from that institution.
With her educational background and internship with that school, Mathews was hired by Sacramento County as a deputy DA.
She spent eight years in that role before being recruited to establish the enforcement unit for the California Energy Commission.
Mathews was later appointed public adviser of that commission by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2013. She was reappointed to that position by Brown in 2016.
Three years later, she was appointed by the speaker’s office as a chief consultant for a legislative committee in the state Capitol.
In her run for the district attorney seat, Mathews noted that she continues to have growing support.
Her endorsements include the Democratic Party of Sacramento County, the Sacramento Central Labor Council, California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Nash Weber and Treasurer Fiona Ma, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, and Cosumnes Community Service District directors Rod Brewer and Orlando Fuentes.