Candidates in the April 13 special primary election to fill a vacancy in the 43rd Assembly District will head to Burbank City Hall at 7 tonight for a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank.
The following are brief descriptions of each of the four candidates, three of whom have never served in public office.
If no candidate receives more than 50% of votes, the election will proceed to a runoff contest June 8 between the top vote-getters from each party.
The winning candidate will serve in the Assembly seat until the end of the current legislative session Nov. 30.
Another election Nov. 2 will determine who will fill the seat for the following two-year term.
Sunder Ramani is a small-business owner and former president of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce.
He has been actively involved in various community organizations in the last 25 years, including YMCAs, educational foundations, Kiwanis clubs and the Salvation Army in Glendale and Burbank.
He is a Republican, but has cast himself as an “independent thinker” who has supported Democratic candidates in the past.
Ramani has pushed for deregulation for businesses, schools and other services, and for reining in the size of government bureaucracies.
He has opposed new taxes and has spoken out against the array of new laws proposed each year, many of which he says have made operations complicated for business owners.
Chahe Keuroghelian is an Armenian-language television host and formerly served as spokesman for the Glendale Police Department.
He started his career as a reporter at a newspaper in Lebanon and eventually became a journalism and political science instructor at Mesrobian Armenian High School in Montebello, where he taught for four years.
He was convicted in 2001 of brandishing a firearm and served 90 days on house arrest for what he later described as a mistake that broke his family apart.
He is a Democrat.
Keuroghelian has advocated for eliminating the two-thirds requirement for passing a budget plan and has called for “creative solutions” for creating more state revenues, including seeking foreign investment from oil-rich Middle Eastern countries.
He has also pushed for more classroom funding by reducing spending on educational administration.
Nayiri Nahabedian is a member of the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education and of the field faculty in the College of Health and Human Services at Cal State Los Angeles.
The Democrat was previously a social worker for Los Angeles County and, in 2008, taught a seminar on racial sensitivity at the Burbank Police Department, where she offered a critical assessment to officials in advance of several officers filing civil rights lawsuits.
Nahabedian has advocated for removing the Legislature’s two-thirds majority vote requirement for passing a budget plan and has called for taxes on oil companies that drill in California in order to provide another revenue source.
She has committed to fighting for more state resources for public education.
Democrat Mike Gatto is an attorney and former district director for Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks).
He teaches weekly language classes for English learners at Huntington Career College.
Gatto has argued that the state’s deficit problems are a result of the limited amount of budget safeguards in place and has advocated for creating a “rainy day fund” that could be used in years when tax revenues fall.
He is also pushing for other state revenue sources and has supported Democratic efforts to tax oil companies who drill in California.
Gatto has also called for creating a new government task force to analyze opportunities for savings within the state budget.