DOWNEY - Luis Marquez is not one to name names, but when he speaks of candidates moving into town and running for state office "just to be a part of an elite political club," it's not difficult to figure out who he's talking about.Marquez, the current councilman for Downey, confirmed this week his intention to run for the California State Assembly. Marquez will attempt to replace Hector De La Torre (D-50), who is being termed out of office. Primary elections are in June. Marquez joins a field of four confirmed candidates, one being Ricardo Lara, a former planning commissioner for the City of Los Angeles. Lara was a Boyle Heights resident until recently when he said he would relocate to the 50th District to run for state office. "This is why people are so fed up with politics and politicians," De La Torre told the Los Angeles Times in April. "We're not a colony of Los Angeles or anywhere else. This is a community that has…its own character and has its own needs." The 50th District includes eight blue-collar cities in Southeast Los Angeles County, including the southern parts of Downey. While Marquez did not refer to any particular candidate by name in an interview this week, he did call the prospect of an outsider representing Downey in the state Assembly (much less the former district director for former embattled Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez) "a little scary." "Voters are paying attention. They don't want partisan bickering, or someone who comes from a political machine, they just want someone to represent them," Marquez said, before adding, "You don't have to live here forever, but at least be from the area." According to Marquez, chief among the needs pressing Southeast Los Angeles County is a decline in quality jobs. "The biggest challenge we face is unemployment," he said. "In Downey, we don't have Tesla yet, but we're not just sitting back. We need to be proactive and try to retain and attract businesses with tax incentives. That's what I want to bring to the 50th District." Marquez has amassed a list of endorsements that includes his boss, state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-27), former senator Betty Karnette and Assembly members Bonnie Lowenthal and Charles Calderon. Locally, he is receiving support from Downey council members Roger Brossmer and David Gafin, Mayor Mario Guerra and the Downey Firemen's Association. "People would come up to me and say, 'We need local representation (after De La Torre leaves office),'" said Marquez, who travels regularly to neighboring cities as senior field deputy for Lowenthal. "After Hector leaves, we will need someone in state office who understands our concerns." In a news release announcing his candidacy, Marquez, who is vice chair of Downey's Green Task Force, said he will "work hard to ensure new green technology projects are developed and implemented in the southeast communities (and) ensure that many of the businesses that have helped our communities through this tough economic time are protected by creating tax incentives for small businesses." Marquez lives in Downey with his wife and 3-year-old twins. He was elected to the City Council last year to replace Kirk Cartozian. If elected to the Assembly, he said he would resign his council seat. Depending on when the seat is resigned, the Council could appoint a temporary replacement until the next election. "Either way I will be representing Downey," Marquez said. "I don't see (my running for Assembly) as letting my supporters down. I've actually received overwhelming support so far." Marquez's first local fundraising event is scheduled for Nov. 5 at a private residence in Downey. With elections in June, Marquez has about nine months to connect with voters in the Southeast area. "I'm going in for the right reasons," said Marquez. "I'm going in to represent my community. I love my city and I love my district."
********** Published: October 23, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 27