Margolin Enters Race for Insurance Post


Saying that the public is losing patience with the slow pace of insurance reform, Assemblyman Burt Margolin (D-Los Angeles) formally announced Thursday that he will run for state insurance commissioner.

Playing on his experience in the Legislature, the 12-year assemblyman described himself as a strong consumer advocate who has authored bills to bolster universal health care.

Margolin said that if he is elected, one of his top priorities would be to jar loose rebates due from Proposition 103, the rate rollback measure approved by voters in 1988 but challenged in the courts by auto insurance companies.


“The public has no patience left for foot-dragging,” Margolin said at a news conference. “I seek this office first and foremost as an advocate for the policyholders.”

State Sen. Art Torres of Los Angeles, the other major Democratic contender in the race, is expected to announce his candidacy during a two-day swing across California next week.

“The question for voters in this race is who is going to be an independent watchdog for consumers,” Torres spokesman Dario Frommer said. “And Art Torres’ record is as a maverick.”

Frommer said Torres’ polls show he has high name identification with voters statewide--56% in a survey of more than 600 voters--compared to 16% for Margolin.

But while Torres started off the 1994 political year with about $35,000 in his campaign treasury, Margolin reported having $324,000 on hand at the close of December, according to campaign disclosure statements filed with the secretary of state’s office.

Besides pushing for auto insurance rebates, Margolin said he would make health insurance reform a top goal as California struggles to implement a version of the Clinton Administration’s health care plan.