As assemblyman, Rocky Chavez has focused on veterans, education

As assemblyman, Rocky Chavez has focused on veterans, education
Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) at a Sacramento press conference in 2013. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

During his tenure in the Legislature, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, who announced a bid for U.S. Senate on Thursday, has established himself as a moderate Republican with an interest in veterans affairs and education.

The retired Marine colonel, who later served in the state's Veteran Affairs department and ran a charter school, was first elected to the Assembly in 2012. He represents Oceanside, which borders the Marines' Camp Pendleton in northern San Diego County.

He authored a measure -- signed into law last year by Gov. Jerry Brown--that allows all veterans to be eligible for in-state tuition rates at UC and Cal State campuses.

Chavez has positioned himself as a moderate within the GOP caucus; he supports same-sex marriage and immigration reform. But he also held off or voted no on some of the most controversial measures on those issues in recent years.

He opposed a successful bill that allows transgender students to use school facilities based on their gender identity, instead of biological sex. He also voted 'no' on a bill allowing people who are in the country illegally to obtain driver's licenses, expressing concern about how such licenses would be marked.

Chavez has also sparred with the Latino Legislative Caucus, which did not allow him to join the organization because he is a Republican.

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