DOWNEY - After months of speculation, Downey Mayor Luis Marquez formally announced on Tuesday that he will run for the California State Assembly in the newly-created 58th District."This is a great opportunity to be able to represent Downey and other local cities in this brand new 58th Assembly District," Marquez said. "There are very few champions fighting for working families and these cities, I hope to bring the skills of what we've done in Downey, creating jobs, balancing the budget, and economic development, to Sacramento." Marquez, who was elected to the Council's city-wide seat in 2008, confirmed his plans to run on Monday after word of an impending campaign began to circulate. Marquez said he made his decision last weekend after receiving overwhelming encouragement from his base of support. "You have to make sure you're doing it for the right reasons," he said. "With this new district, it really opens it up. There's no incumbent so it gives us the opportunity to elect a true local leader to move this district forward." Recently approved by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission this August, the new 58th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Downey, Montebello, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Pico Rivera, Bellflower, Cerritos, Artesia and portions of Norwalk, may soon become the newest battleground for local politicians. While Assemblyman Ricardo Lara (D-50) has yet to announce whether he will run in the new district, other hopefuls are already eyeing the vacant assembly seat including former state Assemblyman Tom Calderon, who announced in August his intentions to campaign in the new district. Calderon, a resident of Montebello, is the older brother of state Sen. Ron Calderon and state Assemblyman Charles Calderon. Despite the fierce competition, Marquez is confident that his candidacy will be a success, pointing to the many local endorsements he has already received. According to a press release issued by Marquez's campaign on Tuesday, Marquez has the support of several leaders in the 58th Assembly District including: Mayor Victor Manalo, City of Artesia; Mayor Art Barajas, City of Montebello; Mayor Mike Mendez, City of Norwalk; Mayor David Armenta, City of Pico Rivera; Mayor Pro Tem Roger Brossmer, Downey; Councilmember Pedro Aceituno, City of Bell Gardens; Councilmember Mark Pulido, City of Cerritos; Councilmember Fernando Vasquez, Downey; and Councilmember Marcel Rodarte, City of Norwalk. Marquez says the amount of local leaders throwing their support behind him only validates his candidacy. "I have overwhelming support from my colleagues ‚àí they believe in me," he said. "I've been in local government for three years, worked with these local cities. We need someone who comes from our local cities with a new perspective. People want change, they're not happy. They want someone from their own people going up there thinking of the district, not themselves." Marquez said his platform will focus on getting California back on its feet by tackling unemployment through job creation efforts. He also hopes to put an end to the partisan bickering in Sacramento. "The voters are tired of the divisiveness in Sacramento. I am willing to work across party lines to get California moving forward," he said. "I have a lot to offer Sacramento...I will bring a whole new breed of leadership." This is not Marquez's first attempt to run for state office. In 2010, Marquez campaigned against Lara in the 50th Assembly District for the democratic nomination, but ultimately came in third with just 14.5 percent of the vote. In the past, many critics have accused Marquez of using the Downey City Council as a stepping stone to higher office, but he denies the claims and maintains his firm commitment of service to the city and its residents. "Residents understand that I'm from Downey. They've seen what I've done. I love this city and I will always be an advocate for this city," said Marquez. "I'm still going to be representing them. I'm concerned about the same issues ‚àí public safety and quality of life. I hope residents will see that." Marquez, who works for state Sen. Alan Lowenthal's office as a senior district aide, said he will spend the next several months campaigning, sharing his message, which he hopes will resonate with voters before the democratic primary in June 2012. "We're going to go city to city, school district to school district, house to house," Marquez said. "We have a larger basis of support and it's going to make a difference. Things may not have worked the first time, but now we are more prepared to take on the challenge and be successful."
********** Published: October 13, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 26