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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on January 19th, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 22, Issue 47 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 22, Issue 47

Three Dems announce runs for new Assembly seat

By Malea Martin

The new boundary lines for Central Coast state Assembly districts are opening the doors for new candidates, and closing chapters for at least one incumbent. 

What was once Assembly District 35 will be split between two new districts in the next election cycle. The new 30th District includes most of SLO County up to Santa Cruz County. The 37th District includes part of Nipomo and all of Santa Barbara County.

Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham, a Republican who represents Northern Santa Barbara County and SLO County in the current 35th District, announced Jan. 13 on Twitter that he will not be running again. As a Templeton resident, Cunningham would have to run in the new 30th District, which demographically looks different than 35th District did—namely, it skews Democrat more than Cunningham’s district does right now.

In his Twitter statement, Cunningham didn’t elaborate on his reasons for not running.

“After talking it over with my wife and kids, I have decided not to seek a fourth term in the state Assembly,” Cunningham wrote in the announcement. “While I suspect my time in politics is not done, I look forward to spending more time with my family, coaching youth sports, and growing our business.” 

The race for the new Assembly District 37 is already heating up, with three Democrats having announced their candidacy. The Sun spoke with two of them, Gabe Escobedo (left) and Gregg Hart (right), about what they bring to the table.

With the new 37th Assembly District now including key parts of south Santa Barbara County—like the city of Santa Barbara and UCSB—three Democrats had put the word out about their candidacy as of Jan. 18: current 2nd District County Supervisor Gregg Hart, Santa Barbara City Planning Commissioner Gabe Escobedo, and Santa Barbara Community College Trustee Jonathan Abboud.

For Hart, redistricting played a major role in his decision to run.

“I wasn’t thinking about this until the draft maps came out, and it became somewhat clear that there would be a new open seat,” Hart said. “I came to the conclusion that this open seat was an opportunity for me to take the experience that I’ve gained over the past three decades of public service and apply that to working on behalf of all the residents of Santa Barbara County and South San Luis Obispo County as the voice in Sacramento.”

Hart said he wants to advocate for environmental protection, job creation, educational opportunity, health care for everyone, emergency preparedness, affordable housing, and ending homelessness.

Escobedo chairs both the Santa Barbara City Planning Commission and the Santa Barbara Community Formation Commission. The latter commission is “right now setting up a recommendation for civilian oversight of Santa Barbara Police Department,” Escobedo told the Sun, one of a few issues that are integral to his campaign.

“The fact that California has budget surpluses, we have infrastructure money from the federal government—we have the potential of even more investments in terms of climate from the federal government … and we also have really urgent problems,” Escobedo said.

The housing and climate crises are two problems Escobedo wants to address, “and there’s no better time to talk about it than right now,” he said. 

Abboud, another Democrat, has served on the Santa Barbara Community College District Board of Trustees since 2014. On his campaign website, Abboud said his priorities include affordable housing and child care, “compassionate and effective action to house the homeless,” and addressing the effects of climate change.

“I am passionate about the Central Coast and making it a better place for all who live here, raise a family here, work here, own a business here, or attend school here,” Abboud wrote. 

Weekly Poll
What type of vegetable would you grow in a free community garden?

Brussel Sprouts, they are the best.
Broccoli because it can go with any meal.
Tomatoes, although I think those are technically a fruit.
French fries!

| Poll Results

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