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Northwest Valley : Birke Switches Sights to State Senate Seat

Dropping his bid for a state Assembly seat, attorney John Birke announced this week that he is entering the race for the 19th District state Senate seat.

The 31-year-old Chatsworth Democrat said he will oppose state Sen. Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) in her bid for reelection in the district that includes Chatsworth, Northridge and Castaic, as well as Camarillo, Oxnard, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks in Ventura County.

Birke, a first-time candidate, said finding more revenues for public education would be among his top priorities if elected.

Birke is the only candidate so far to enter the November, 1996, state Senate race in the 19th District.

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Birke said he decided to drop out of the race in the 38th Assembly District because he did not want to challenge his friend Jon Lauritzen, a mathematics teacher at Canoga Park High School, in the Democratic primary in March. The Assembly district also straddles Los Angeles and Ventura counties.


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