DOWNEY - With his time on the Downey city council coming to an end next year, Mayor Mario Guerra announced today he is running for state Senate. Guerra is seeking to represent District 32, a large district that stretches across southeast communities such as Whittier, Montebello, La Habra, Norwalk, La Mirada, Cerritos and, of course, Downey.
As of this week Guerra is the lone Republican candidate to enter the race. Former Assemblyman Tony Mendoza and non-profit exec Kevin Perez-Allen, both Democrats, previously announced their candidacies, while former legislator Sally Havice, now an English professor at Cerritos College, is also expected to run.
Guerra's campaign will tout Downey's success in creating jobs and attracting new business, most notably Porto's Bakery, Champion Fiat and Raytheon.
Downey's premium school system is also expected to buoy Guerra's campaign; four Downey school board members have endorsed Guerra, along with retired superintendent Dr. Wendy Doty.
"It's time we focus on fundamentals: good jobs, safe streets and a great education system for our children," Guerra said in a statement. "I've done it in Downey and am excited to do more great things for families across the district."
L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe offered an enthusiastic endorsement as well.
"Mario Guerra is a longtime area resident who has dedicated countless hours to serving our local communities as a small business, volunteer and as Downey mayor and council member," Knabe said in a statement. "His energy and commitment to programs benefiting our schools, the environment, job creation efforts, the local economy and safe neighborhoods have made our entire region a better place to live, work and play.
"Mario is trustworthy, well-respected and has a commitment to public service for the right reason - helping those he serves."
After seven years in local politics, Guerra has amassed a long list of endorsements, including seven past Downey mayors. He has also received endorsements from the mayors of South Gate, Lynwood, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Artesia, Paramount, Claremont and Dana Point.
The Downey Fire Management Association, which rarely involves itself in local politics, is publicly backing Guerra.
John S. Thomas, a political consultant who handled last year's campaigns of Los Angeles mayoral candidate Kevin James and district attorney hopeful Alan Jackson, is running Guerra's Senate bid.
"Since becoming elected I've helped initiate the Character Counts program in Downey with great success," Guerra said. "As your state senator, I'll work to restore the public's trust in their state government. Public officials' integrity and ethics must be beyond reproach with no exceptions."
In addition to his duties at Downey City Hall, Guerra is co-founder of Scanlon, Guerra and Burke, one of the largest insurance brokers in California.
He has been an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church since 2002 and serves as a deacon in ministry at St. Linus Catholic Church in Norwalk. He also serves as a stational deacon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles in downtown Los Angeles.
He has been married to his wife, Ann, for 29 years. They have five children.