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Leticia Perez announces bid for State Assembly

Perez announcement

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez speaks during an event  Tuesday morning at Jefferson Park kicking off her campaign for the state Assembly.

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez announced she intends to run for the state Assembly in a new district that mostly encompasses the area now represented by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield.

In a kickoff event surrounded by a diverse group of supporters at Jefferson Park on Tuesday morning, Perez pledged to be a voice for Kern County residents who often go unheard.

“We may have been scoffed at, not seen as more than a collection of ragtag radicals wanting better education, safe and beautiful green spaces, job opportunities and answers to the most pressing issues facing all of us,” she addressed the crowd. “We might be a motley crew, but everyone is welcome. And we relish a righteous fight for Kern County.”

Perez aims to succeed Salas in the Assembly. The current state assemblyman is not seeking reelection at the state level, but is campaigning for Congress. Salas attended Tuesday’s event to endorse Perez’s candidacy.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s something that’s going to affect millions of people or whether it’s going to affect one individual and their household, Leticia is the person that’s going to get it done,” he said.

Every 10 years, the state changes the political boundary lines to reflect new Census data. Salas' 32nd District looks slightly different than the one Perez aims to represent. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission has altered the district, now known as the 35th District, to remove the portion in Kings County, including Hanford, focusing the district on northwestern Kern County, with a “teardrop” shape reaching into Bakersfield.

Perez is the second candidate to announce her intent to run for the 35th District.

In November, Bakersfield doctor Jasmeet Bains announced she would run for the Assembly as a Democrat on a health care platform.

Perez, a fellow Democrat, said her No. 1 goal was to ensure the county remained the “global energy leaders of the world.” She added that she would focus on securing high-paying jobs for the county’s oil workers as the state begins its transition toward renewable energy.

“As the state of California and the country continue to clamp down on our oil and gas industry, creating the next chapter is make-or-break for Kern County,” she said. “I am just so pleased and excited to have the expertise that we have here in Kern to be able to take that to Sacramento and say we actually have the answers. No offense, but people up there don’t, and around the state of California, they don’t either.”

A primary election for the state Assembly and other offices is scheduled for June 7. The midterm elections, which also include the state Assembly, will be held on Nov. 8.

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.