Portantino to La Cañada: Thank you!

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) on Wednesday thanked the community for its support as his time in Sacramento comes to an end, and he reflected on his key accomplishments.

Two months remain before term limits force Portantino to leave the Assembly after six years.

Last year Portantino mulled a run for U.S. Congress. Earlier this year he briefly considered challenging fellow Democrat and former La Cañada City Council member Carol Liu for her seat in the state Senate, but dropped his candidacy as the race was taking shape, citing family reasons.

Portantino told the Kiwanis Club La Cañada that the club has played an important role in his community service as well as in La Cañada civic life. Portantino joined Kiwanis before his first run for City Council in 1999.

“As a resident of this wonderful community, as somebody who grew up in New Jersey who many of you didn't know until I walked in the door, here I am … a proud member of this club,” he said. “This club has been so supportive of our community and me; it's just been an honor to represent you in Sacramento and represent you on the City Council.”

Last month Portantino saw seven of his bills reach Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed five of them into law. That puts the assemblyman's six-year count at 38 bills enacted, according to Portantino.

Over the years Portantino has introduced several pieces of legislation directly inspired by La Cañada, including a measure bringing tax relief to victims of the mudslides that hit the winter after the 2009 Station fire, and a bill passed this year requiring healthcare plans to provide mammograms upon referral.

Portantino said he hopes residents continue to battle against the proposal to build a tunnel extending the Long Beach (710) Freeway to the Foothill (210) Freeway in Pasadena.

“That is a real fight that needs your engagement,” he said. “It's a project that needs to be stopped.”

Portantino, who clashed with state Democratic Party leaders over the fate of municipal redevelopment agencies and the way Assembly leaders parcel out money for members' office staff, said he was willing to make trouble in Sacramento because of the support he had in his district.

“I just wanted to come in and let you know what your trust and faith did over the last six years and how it gave me the strength to stand up to the leadership,” he said. “I've told three speakers [of the Assembly] that they didn't elect me, you did.”

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