Longtime Glendale Unified school board member Greg Krikorian is throwing his hat in the ring to run in the redrawn 43rd state Assembly District against incumbent Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake), who has already raised nearly $500,000 for his reelection campaign.
Krikorian said he's running as a Republican, but he describes himself as a moderate.
“I'm business conservative and socially open-minded,” he said. “Social issues aren't going to get us jobs or fill up our tanks.”
Krikorian decided to enter the race because of what he said was a dysfunctional state government.
“Our state is heading in an unsustainable path,” he said.
Hopefuls have until March 19 to declare their candidacies.
Krikorian is running on three main issues: education funding, job creation, and reeling in the size and scope of state government.
Krikorian, who has served on the Glendale school board for 11 years, said he's proud the local school district has remained financially stable while other districts have been laying off staff.
However, he's disturbed at how public education and community colleges have been crippled by funding cuts throughout the state and thinks they should receive more financial support.
He's looking at reducing how much the state government hurts schools and businesses when lawmakers pass unfunded mandates and unnecessary regulations.
“We also need to get a grip on these spiking pensions [for government employees],” he said.
Krikorian said he's not concerned that Gatto has gotten such an early start in fundraising.
“We're going to start raising money,” Krikorian said, adding that he will take a primarily grass-roots approach.
Krikorian, vice president of business development and marketing for Business Life and Senior Living magazines, has been active in the education community for many years, serving on the Five Star Education Coalition, Glendale Educational Foundation and Los Angeles County School Trustees Assn.
He was also heavily involved with the passage of Measure S, the $270-million bond passed by Glendale voters last April, which will pay for extensive capital projects throughout the Glendale school district.
Gatto said he is ready for the reelection campaign.
“I look forward to a refined debate of the issues,” he said, adding that he emphasizes the “four E's” — employment, education, environment and equality.
Despite what has so far been an empty field, Gatto has said he expected to face an opponent because of the heated competition for the seat in 2010. The Assembly district has since been redrawn by a citizens commission.
Therefore, Gatto said, he wanted to be prepared to mount a strong campaign and has raised $480,000, so far, much of it from Fortune 500 companies, unions and Indian gaming interests.
Gatto said he's also received many small grass-roots contributions.
The June election will be the first time the state will use an open primary in which all candidates will be on the same ballot, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election, even if they're from the same party.