Two Assembly members, just reelected, announce runs for Senate

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They just took the oath of office this week, but two members of the state Assembly are already pivoting to run for the Senate in a special election in March.

Assemblywoman Norma Torres (D-Pomona) says she plans to run for the state Senate seat being vacated Jan. 2 by Gloria Negrete-McLeod, who has been elected to Congress. Torres was just elected Nov. 6 to a third term in the Assembly. ‘My intent was to run for that (Senate) position in 2014 but the opportunity presented itself before that,’' Torres explained.

‘The upper house provides a much better opportunity to focus on long-term legislation,’' she added. ‘You don’t have to run for reelection every two years like in the Assembly.’'

Her goals for the Senate are to extend the Gold Line rail service to Ontario Airport and transfer the airfield to local control, she said.


Torres is probably going to face some competition for the Senate seat, with other contenders including San Bernardino County Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector Larry Walker. ‘I’m running to continue the tradition of that kind of bipartisan approach and leadership and independent thinking,’' said Walker, who is backed by Sen. Negrete-McLeod. in the race.

State Sen. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) also won election last month to Congress and is expected to step down from his state office in the first week of January.

Those competing for that seat include Assemblyman Ben Hueso (D-Logan Heights), who took the oath of office this week after winning a second term in the lower house last month. Hueso said he wants to move to the Senate ‘because it offers a bigger base of support to address key challenges facing California.’’

Those include trade between Mexico and the U.S., he said in a statement released by his campaign. ‘This is our greatest opportunity for job creation,’’ he said, adding that the 40th Senate District ‘has communities with high unemployment rates.’’

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento