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Area Assembly Races Spark Emotions, Well Known And Upstart Candidates

By Brian Hews

Campaigns for three area state assembly seats are now officially underway.

All three of them are guaranteed to result in bringing either new or old faces to Sacramento, big donations, and miles of shoe leather, door to door canvassing, and signs, lots of political signs.

For the first time in California election history Democrats, Republican, Declined to State and Minor Party candidates appear on the same ballot in what is being touted as an “open primary election.”

Instead of picking individual political party favorites, voters will now pick the top two vote getters into a November general election run-off.

Local party leaders are mixed on the new type of balloting.

“I think the open primary is a good thing.  It allows for the best candidates to be on the November ballot regardless if they are a Democrat or Republican or whatever,” said Nikki Noushkam a long time local Democratic Party leader and current member of the LA County Democratic Central Committee.  “I like to see Democracy work, and this is a very important election and it is very exciting to see the enthusiasm on all sides of the political spectrum,” said the Cerritos resident.

On the other hand, local Republican Party leader Allan Wood, is not in favor of the new open party system, saying it “disenfranchises minor parties and independent candidates.”  Wood represents the 58th Assembly District on the Los Angeles County Republican Party Central Committee and like Noushkam is busy coordinating grassroots volunteer efforts on behalf of their individual parties.

“The open primary will block out voters in both parties, not open up the process,” Wood said.  But, he said that the hotly contested Republican Party Presidential Primary campaign between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul has been a “shot in the arm” in bringing “excitement and attention to Republican candidates across the board.”

Here is a final list of the candidates who will be on the ballot for the June 5th California Primary Ballot for key area Assembly campaigns:

57th State Assembly: (Norwalk, La Mirada, Santa Fe Springs, Whittier area):  Former Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez is attempting a political comeback and will is facing a stiff challenge from fellow Democrat upstart candidate Ian Charles Calderon and popular La Mirada business owner Noel A. Jamie.

Bermudez and Calderon have already taken the campaign into an early heated tone by aggressive internet campaigns being launched by both sides.

Jamie is the only Republican in the race and he said that his campaign is focused on “jobs, jobs and creating more jobs.”

“We need less interference from Sacramento and we need to do what American’s do best and that is returning an entrepreneurial spirit to government,” said Jamie.  He said that he was asked to run by several local party leaders.  Jamie said the open primary is “good for the community” and forces everyone to seek a “middle ground.”  He said that South El Monte has a 15% unemployment rate and I don’t think (Ian) Calderon has the experience to figure out how to create jobs.”

58th Assembly District: (Cerritos, Artesia, Bellflower, Norwalk, Downey, Bell Gardens, Pico Rivera, Montebello)

Six candidates will be seeking the newly created district that was previously was represented by three different assembly members including termed out Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, and Assemblyman Charles Calderon.

The race will pit Downey Councilman Luis Marquez, Bell Gardens Councilman and Probation Officer Daniel Crespo, Bell Gardens community activist and educator Cristina Garcia; Businessman and former assemblyman Tom Calderon; Cerritos insurance executive Sam Ahmad; and Downey business owner/private investigator Patricia A. Kotez-Ramos.

Calderon, a former Assemblyman is the uncle to candidate Ian Calderon (57th District) and brothers to Senator Ron, and Assemblyman Charles.

Tom Calderon told Los Cerritos Community News that elections and campaigns “always come down to the two or three candidates and “now is the time we need people with experience in order to bring jobs back to California.”  “We have lost too many aerospace jobs to states like Texas, and we need to stop this trend,” Calderon said.

Marquez, who doubles as both a Downey councilman and an aide to State Senator Alan Lowenthal?

Garcia is best known for helping organize one of the community groups that resulted in the recall of several Bell city council officials as well helping bring the attention about the corruption that has plagued several city halls in SE Los Angeles County.  Garcia told LCCN that she is running to enact “real change” in Sacramento.  “I am running as a reformer, an outsider and now we have to clean up corruption in the state capitol,” she said.

Ahmad said he decided to run because “the system is broken and needs non-politicians to fix it.”

63rd Assembly District (Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, Paramount, Lynwood, Bell)

Paramount City Councilwoman Diane Martinez, Non-Profit Director Anthony Redon, Corporate Executive and Certified Public Accountant Jack M. Guerrero, and Catherin “Cat” Sergeant.

Rendon is new to the district and touts the backing of State Assembly Speaker John Perez has his top supporter.

Martinez is a longtime member of the Paramount City Council as well as a local teacher, while Guerrero touts himself as a corporate executive who current resides in the Cudahy.

Los Cerritos Community Newspaper will be providing the best local election coverage both on-line at www.loscerritosnews.net, and in our weekly print editions.