Get to Know The Candidates Running For State Positions

These+are+the+32+candidates+for+the+six+state+positions.+Images+courtesy+of+Ballotpedia%2C+Voter%27s+Edge%2C+and+their+respective+campaign+websites.+Graphic+Credit%3A+Joshua+Sanchez%2FSAC.Media.

These are the 32 candidates for the six state positions. Images courtesy of Ballotpedia, Voter’s Edge, and their respective campaign websites. Graphic Credit: Joshua Sanchez/SAC.Media.

Update: Oct. 21, 7:35 p.m.:

This article was written for the June 5 primaries. The updated candidate roster including Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Superintendent of Public Instruction are available on the updated version of this voter guide for the midterm election on Nov. 6.

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There are six state positions available outside of State Governor and Lieutenant Governor to be voted on in the primary on Tuesday, June 5.

The positions are: Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, and Member State Board of Equalization 3rd District.

In California, the office of Secretary of State hosts around 500 people who work to make the government transparent and accessible. The head of the office, which the candidates are running for, is responsible as Chief Elections Officer, and implements disclosure of campaign and lobbyist financial information among other important duties.

In short, Secretary of State must ensure election votes are counted, announced, and that campaign disclosures were made prior to the vote for transparency. Although they have party preferences, they must be impartial to all candidates running.

The office of Controller appoints one candidate as the chief financial officer CFO of California. This individual is responsible for the distribution of state resources and manages the sixth largest economy in the world. The Controller safeguards property, audits government agencies, and is a member of several financing authorities and boards.

To put it simply, think of California as a company, and the Controller handles where the finances are used and ensures they are used properly in all other companies statewide.

The position of Treasurer has the authority and responsibility in regards to finance and investment, becoming the lead banker and financier, also serving as a chairperson or member of state boards and authorities.

The Treasurer serves on the boards of the Public Employees’ Retirement System CalPERS which is a significant investor and second largest purchaser of healthcare service in the country. At Mt. SAC, President Scroggins has hosted forums regarding a potential switch away from CalPERS, meaning the position of Treasurer is linked to the campus, and may not be if the switch is made with all groups.

In simple terms, the Treasurer is the Controller’s right hand, managing everything financial that the Controller does not, like financial investments.

The position of Attorney General regards the states’ top law enforcement official and lawyer. This individual is responsible for safeguarding the public, enforcing civil rights laws, helping victims, and overseeing more than 4,500 lawyers and sworn peace officers.

In short, the Attorney General is the head of all the laws in the state, entrusted to uphold and enforce it.

The office of Insurance Commissioner involves the California Department of Insurance CDI, which is the largest consumer protection agency for the largest insurance market in the state and fourth largest insurance market in the world.

The CDI is relied upon by consumers, insurance companies, and licensees to oversee insurer solvency, resolving consumer complaints, and prosecuting insurance fraud, all to ensure consumers are protected.

Thus, the Insurance Commissioner is the head of the CDI and is important for protecting consumers from insurance fraud in a large insurance market.

The position for Member State Board of Equalization BOE is to replace the current 3rd District incumbent Jerome Horton. The BOE’s purpose is to ensure fair, efficient, and effective tax administration through a five member board. The fifth member is the Controller.

In short, the BOE has four elected board positions and the elected Controller. Their job is to ensure the administration around the tax program is accountable to the people.

This is page 3 and 4 of the Official Sample Ballot regarding state positions.

Secretary of State has eight options.

Controller has three options.

Treasurer has five options.

Attorney General has four options.

Insurance Commissioner has four options.

Member State Board of Equalization 3rd District has eight options.

Democrats Ben Pak, Nancy Pearlman, Doug Kriegel,
Tony Vazquez, Scott Svonkin, and Cheryl C. Turner;
Republican G. Rick Marshall;
No Party Preference Micháel “Me-Haul” O’Leary.

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Alex Padilla is the current incumbent for the position, and in 2015 he was sworn in as Secretary of State. He had served eight years in the state Senate prior, serving on three committees: Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications, and the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments.

This is Alex Padilla’s photo from his campaign website.

“As California Secretary of State, I have consistently pushed back on Trump’s baseless allegations of massive voter fraud,” Padilla said.

“I have firmly refused to provide California voters’ private information to President Trump’s sham Advisory Commission on Election Integrity and I helped organize Secretaries of State across the country to do the same,” Padilla said on his campaign website.

Other Candidates Running for Secretary of State | Other State Positions

Gail Lightfoot is a widow and retired professional nurse running for Secretary of State. She has been the Libertarian party’s candidate, and became a Charter member of the party in January 1972.  She is opposed to the Top Two system in California that disregards party lines for the candidates for the November ballot.

This is Gail Lightfoot’s photo for her campaign website.

“Voters need and want to find candidates who share their political thinking on the size and scope of government.”

“Lightfoot is pledged to Stop Top Two any way possible.”

“Join her in restoring the right to join and participate in the political party of your choice with ballot access in November for all parties,” Lightfoot’s campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Secretary of State | Other State Positions

C.T. Weber is a retired government analyst and member of the Peace and Freedom Party, who is running for Secretary of State. Major issues of his campaign involve getting money out of politics and getting rid of the Top Two system.

This is C.T. Weber’s photo on the Peace and Freedom Party’s website.

“C. T. wants to make sure that our elections will be secure and transparent by establishing publicly owned, open-source paper ballot voting systems throughout California,” Weber’s campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Secretary of State | Other State Positions

Erik Rydberg is a community organizer of the Green Party who is running for Secretary of State. His biggest issue is in his campaign slogan “DEFEND DEMOCRACY, PROTECT THE VOTE” where he advocates for mandatory vote recounts and hand counted paper ballots.

This is Erik Rydberg’s photo on Ballotpedia.

He alleges that Alex Padilla spent his time campaigning for Clinton instead of overseeing training for independents requesting cross-over ballots, which is a violation of the DNC’s charter.

“If I am elected as your next Secretary of State I will ensure and accurate, thorough and transparent count of California’s votes,” Rydberg added on his campaign website.

Other Candidates Running for Secretary of State | Other State Positions

Raul Rodriguez Jr. is a retired warehousing employee running for Secretary of State under the Republican party.

Raul Rodriguez Jr did not submit a photo to Voter’s Edge or Ballotpedia, and does not have a campaign website.

“I am an Army veteran, I love this wonderful country and I will restore the election integrity in California,” he said about his candidacy according to Voter Guide.

Other Candidates Running for Secretary of State | Other State Positions

Michael Feinstein is an electoral reform consultant, former city councilperson, mayor of Santa Monica, and Green party candidate running for Secretary of State. He played a role in co-founding the Green Party of California in 1990, according to his campaign website.

This is Michael Feinstein’s photo on his campaign website.

“1989 – present: As a primary U.S. Green representative to Green Parties worldwide, travelled extensively internationally and met MPs, elections officers and others who have worked in different electoral and public financing systems,” Feinstein’s campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Secretary of State | Other State Positions

Ruben Major is a paramedic, educator, and businessperson running for Secretary of State as a Democrat. Major has been an EMT for over 20 years, and has also led a company that prospered as an EMT business. The main issues of his campaign involve improving financial disclosure, fighting voter suppression, and securing voter registration rolls.

This is the photo of Ruben Major on Ballotpedia.

“I’m not taking corporate money and running to end private control of our election systems, to institute open source software, and to require 100% paper audits,” Major said on his campaign website.

Other Candidates Running for Secretary of State | Other State Positions

Mark P. Meuser is an election law attorney and small business owner running as a Republican for Secretary of State. His policies include a push to protect the rights of citizens to vote and petition their government, and to make the office modernized.

He said he plans to modernize the office by guiding it “out of the antiquated 19th Century and into the 21st Century” making the office of Secretary of State open and accessible, ensuring that it works for the people.

This is Mark Meuser’s background on his campaign website.

“Californians deserve voter rolls that are compliant with both the Help American Voter Act and the National Voter Registration Act. Properly maintained voter registration rolls will be critical to cut down on long lines at polls now that California has enacted same-day voter registration,” Meuser’s website states.

Other Candidates Running for Secretary of State | Other State Positions

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Betty T. Yee is the current Democrat incumbent for the position of California State Controller. She previously served on the  Board of Equalization and has updated California’s tax rules to promote “green” economy, and provided free resources to promote tax compliance from small business, nonprofit, and women’s communities, according to her website.

This is Betty Yee’s photo on Ballotpedia.

“With demonstrated leadership in serving as a responsible steward of our tax dollars and as an advocate for California consumers, Betty will continue to bring her fair yet tough-minded discipline to the office of Controller, California’s independent fiscal watchdog,” her campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Controller | Other State Positions

Konstantinos Roditis is an entrepreneur and Republican running for Controller. He proposes Trickle-up-Taxation to remedy a “broken Sacramento” and advocates for common sense governance. To oversimplify his proposed Trickle-up-Taxation policy, citizens would pay their taxes to the local government first and only a percent of that would go to state, making the state tax the city instead of people personally.

In his example, making $100,000 with a 10 percent income tax rate applied and a state government taking 30 percent would result in $10,000 divided into $7,000 for local city and county, and $3,000 for the state.

This is Konstantinos Roditis’ photo on his campaign website.

“Sacramento believes we are made out of money. They just don’t care how much they tax us and how much money they recklessly waste. It’s time we rise up and destroy the stranglehold that Sacramento has on us. That is why I created Trickle-up-Taxation,” Roditis’ campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Controller | Other State Positions

Mary Lou Finley is a retired educator, who is running for Controller under the Peace and Freedom party. She recently retired from the San Diego Unified School District and a California School Employees Association member.

This is Mary Finley’s photo on the Peace and Freedom Party’s website.

“Mary Lou advocates reducing the tax burden on working people and shifting it to those best able to pay, the wealthy who benefit from the current economic system,” Finley’s profile on the Peace and Freedom party website states.

Other Candidates Running for Controller | Other State Positions

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Jack M. Guerrero is a Certified Public Accountant CPA, council member, and economist running for Treasurer as a Republican.  He has experience as a mayor and council member of the City of Cudahy, and as a vice president in the corporate treasury division of a global banking institution. Guerrero’s website claims he will expose mismanagement, safeguard state assets, and put citizens first.

This is Jack Guerrero’s photo on his campaign website.

“As Mayor of his hometown city, Jack worked with the California State Controller to expose millions of dollars in wasteful and unlawful spending,” Guerrero’s campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Treasurer | Other State Positions

Kevin Akin is a retired steam engineer running for Treasurer with the Peace and Freedom party. He was endorsed by the San Francisco’s “League of Pissed-Off Voters” for Treasurer, and advocates for a publicly-owned state bank. His policies are driven by a “what is good for the middle class” line of thinking, according to his website.

This is Kevin Akin’s photo from the Peace and Freedom Party’s website.

“I have no intention of representing “all Californians” in Sacramento. I will only represent 99% of them. The One Percent has plenty of representation in Sacramento already,” Akin’s campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Treasurer | Other State Positions

Greg Conlon is a businessman and CPA running for Treasurer as a Republican. He is a veteran, former president of Public Utilities Commission, former committee of Transportation Commission, and has 30 years of financial and accounting experience.

This is Greg Conlon’s header from his campaign website.

“In my last campaign for Treasurer, I received close to 3.0 million votes—almost 42% of ballots cast. My experience in business and as a CPA eminently qualifies me to be State Treasurer. I recognize that California is desperately in need of a true fiscal watchdog to manage the state’s finances, especially if a Democratic candidate wins the Governor’s race,” Conlon’s campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Treasurer | Other State Positions

Fiona Ma is a CPA and tax payer representative running as a Democrat for State Treasurer. She currently serves on the California State Board of Equalization in the 2nd District, and she works to protect the rights for taxpayers and ensures California collects its fair share of tax revenues.

This is Fiona Ma’s photo on her campaign website.

“Fiona previously served as a San Francisco Supervisor. She authored the landmark Local Business Enterprise ordinance on behalf of women and minority business owners and passed legislation to tackle human trafficking,” Ma’s campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Treasurer | Other State Positions

Vivek Viswanathan is a special advisor to Governor Jerry Brown’s office and he is running as a Democrat for Treasurer. As an advisor, he managed projects ranging from job creation to health care and infrastructure to public safety.

He also served as a policy advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and he has 10 ideas for policy, including an expansion of a rainy day fund to protect California from economic downturns.

This is Vivek Viswanathan’s photo on his campaign website.

“I’m running without any corporate money, without any political action committee money, and without any other special interest money, so that the next Treasurer is only in it for you,” Viswanathan’s campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Treasurer | Other State Positions

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Dave Jones is the current Insurance Commissioner, and he is running for Attorney General as a Democrat. He previously served as a state assembly member and city council member, and has represented low income families. He currently regulates the largest insurance market in the United States.

This is Dave Jones’ photo on his campaign website.

“He knows what it takes to run the Department of Justice, having served as Special Assistant to former United States Attorney General Janet Reno. As a state Assembly member he successfully authored gun control, consumer protection, civil justice, and other legislation,” his campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Attorney General | Other State Positions

Steven C. Bailey is a retired California judge running for Attorney General as a Republican. He was elected Judge of El Dorado County Superior Court of California in 2008, and re-elected in 2014. He also presided the Juvenile Court Judge from 2012 until 2015. Prior to the bench, he was in private practice and handled administrative and criminal law for 19 years.

This is Steven C Bailey’s photo on his campaign website.

“As a retired Judge of the Superior Court of California, he has seen the impact and have enforced our laws according to our Constitution – not the political whim of the day,” Bailey’s  campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Attorney General | Other State Positions

Xavier Becerra is the Democrat incumbent and appointed 33rd Attorney General of the State of California. He is the first Latino to hold the office in the history of the state. His work as chief law enforcement officer comes after two decades of service to Los Angeles, and he fought for a fairer tax code and trade laws.

This is Xavier Becerra’s photo on Ballotpedia.

“In Congress, Xavier played a leading role in some of the biggest national battles for health care reform. He was an early supporter of single payer health care and helped draft the ACA,” his campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Attorney General | Other State Positions

Eric Early is an attorney and business owner running for Attorney General as a Republican. He was not a traditional attorney, as he originally went to film school and produced commercials and directed short children’s films prior to pursuing law.

This is Eric Early’s photo on his campaign website.

“I am running for Attorney General because everyday Californians need a voice in Sacramento that protects their rights first. I want to bring a common-sense Republican voice to our state government, focused on the rights of citizens of all races, religions, ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientation. Too often, the office of Attorney General has been used as a stepping stone to advance political careers,” Early’s campaign website states.

Other Candidates Running for Attorney General | Other State Positions

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Steve Poizner is a business person and non-profit director running without a party preference for Insurance Commissioner. He founded several tech companies and issued lower insurance rates which saved drivers and homeowners over $2 billion.

As Insurance Commissioner, he saved the taxpayers $17 million, permanently cutting 13 percent of the Department of Insurance without layoffs, and arrested over 3,000 people, a record amount of arrests for insurance fraud, according to his website.

This is Steve Poizner’s photo on his campaign website.

“Steve Poizner understands that healthy competition in the insurance marketplace reduces the cost of doing business, lowers rates and benefits consumers. As a successful business leader, Steve Poizner will work to increase rate competition and fight the insurance fraud that victimizes consumers,” Poizner’s campaign website states.

Candidates Running for Insurance Commissioner | Other State Positions

Ricardo Lara is a California senator and Democrat running for Insurance Commissioner. He is running for the “great people of California” and clarifies his allegiance will be with consumers, patients, working families, and most vulnerable communities. One issue of his campaign is to challenge mass incarceration and ensuring the criminal justice system is more fair and just.

This is Ricardo Lara’s background on his campaign website.

“I’m running to be California’s next State Insurance Commissioner because I believe at my core that California needs a strong defender, and a counterpuncher, who will stand up to fight our bullying President, Donald Trump, and his increasingly reckless federal government on issues from healthcare access to economic security and more,” Lara’s campaign website stated.

Candidates Running for Insurance Commissioner | Other State Positions

Nathalie Hrizi is a public school teacher running for Insurance Commissioner under the Peace and Freedom Party. She is a social justice activist and editor of a quarterly magazine, Breaking the Chains: A Socialist Perspective on Women’s Liberation. When she ran in 2014, she won nearly 212,991 votes or 5.6 percent of total cast. Health care is an important issue to Hrizi, and she advocates for a state single payer system.

This is a photo of Nathalie Hrizi on her campaign website.

“A state single payer system would guarantee health care for all people, with the state government paying all medical bills. It would be like Medicare for all. Contrary to right-wing propaganda, Medicare is far more efficient than private insurers,” Hrizi’s campaign website states.

Candidates Running for Insurance Commissioner | Other State Positions

Asif Mahmood is a physician for internal medicine running as a Democrat for Insurance Commissioner. He was born in Kharian in rural Pakistan, and he moved to the United States in 1991, completing his medical residency at the University of Kentucky. His main focus is health care for all, not health care for most.

This is Asif Mahmood’s photo on Ballotpedia.

“I commit to you that I will not accept campaign contributions from insurance or pharmaceutical companies. Those businesses are not my constituents — you are,” Mahmood’s campaign website states.

Candidates Running for Insurance Commissioner | Other State Positions

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G. Rick Marshall is a Chief Financial Officer and Republican running for the 3rd District Member State Board of Equalization. He has also worked for CCH Computax from 1984 until 1992, the largest tax return preparation company at the time, serving CPAs.

This is G. Rick Marshall’s photo on Ballotpedia.

He has seven principles, and the first is “the free enterprise system, not government, is the most productive supplier of human needs,” as his campaign website states.

Candidates Running for BOE 3rd District | Other State Positions

Ben Pak is an auditor and reserve policeman running as a Democrat for the 3rd District Board of Equalization. He created jobs, paid taxes, interacted directly with the Board of Equalization, and owned and managed his own businesses.

He was born in Korea, and immigrated to Chile, entering the United States in 1983. He currently works as an auditor for a small business and he had previously became a reserve officer in 2008 for the Los Angeles Police Department.

This is Ben Pak’s photo on his campaign website.

“The Board of Equalization is in crisis. Charges of gross mismanagement, nepotism, and political corruption over the past year led state lawmakers to strip the board of many of its responsibilities. It’s still an important body, and more than ever, it needs a steady hand,” Pak’s campaign website states.

Candidates Running for BOE 3rd District | Other State Positions

Nancy Pearlman is a college professor, award-winning broadcaster, and member of the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District for five terms. Pearlman is running as a Democrat for the 3rd District Board of Equalization.

This is Nancy Pearlman’s photo on her campaign website.

“Nancy is available to give talks and lectures or be a panelist on topics ranging from ecotourism to international conservation programs to community college education. She can provide expertise on sustainability issues and green activities,” her personal website states.

Candidates Running for BOE 3rd District | Other State Positions

Doug Kriegel is a TV economics reporter running as a Democrat for the 3rd District Board of Equalization. He has produced a series of broadcasts on PBS SoCal titled “The Drive By Economist” and the series has received two Emmy nominations. He has a master’s degree in economics and another in journalism.

This is Doug Kriegel’s photo on Voter’s Edge.

“Doug also spent 31 years at NBC-4 News where he had a number of positions: Sacramento Bureau Chief, General Assignments Reporter, and Money Editor. At KNBC, Doug won two Emmys and an Associated Press award,” the Los Angeles Press Club states.

Candidates Running for BOE 3rd District | Other State Positions

Tony Vazquez is a Santa Monica City councilperson running as a Democrat for the 3rd District Board of Equalization. He was the first Latino to serve as mayor since the city was incorporated in 1886, and was first elected in 1990. He was treasurer of the Independent Cities Association, and a board member of the Hispanic Elected Local Officials, among other boards.

This is Tony Vazquez’s photo on his campaign website.

“Vazquez believes hard work, smart planning and thriving business enterprise are the keys to a city’s success,” his campaign website states.

Candidates Running for BOE 3rd District | Other State Positions

Scott Svonkin is a community college board member and Democrat running for the 3rd District Board of Equalization. He has served his third consecutive term as president, the first time this has happened in over 50 years.

He was elected to serve the Los Angeles Community College District LACCD board in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. The main focuses of his campaign are to reform the board, crack down on tax scofflaws, support small business, and make the board more accessible.

This is Scott Svonkin’s photo on his campaign website.

“The Board of Equalization is broken… I’ll work to institute tough new ethics rules, increase transparency, and work to make the Board of Equalization an institution that we can all be proud of,” Svonkin’s campaign website states.

Candidates Running for BOE 3rd District | Other State Positions

Cheryl C. Turner is a tax attorney and commissioner running as a Democrat for the 3rd District Board of Equalization. She is a former real estate broker and holds a Public Works Construction Management Certificate. She was recently appointed to the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians by Jerry Brown.

Prior to that appointment, she was selected to serve on the Los Angeles Convention and Exhibition Center Authority as a Commissioner by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. She eventually rose to the rank of vice president.

This is Cheryl Turner’s photo on her campaign website.

“For over 20 years, she’s managed her own legal practice with an emphasis on business, tax, insurance, real estate, transportation and construction law,” Turner’s campaign website states

Candidates Running for BOE 3rd District | Other State Positions

Micháel “Me-haul” O’ Leary is a small business owner with no party preference, running for the 3rd District Board of Equalization. He was elected to the Culver City City Council in 2008, re-elected in 2012, and termed out as mayor in 2016. To focus on his candidacy, he sold his pub.

This is Michael (Me-haul) O’ Leary’s header for his campaign website.

“When elected, I will: break the cycle of insider politics plaguing the Board of Equalization…. Push to implement a pro-active information source and learning program for business owners,” his campaign website states.

Candidates Running for BOE 3rd District | Other State Positions

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The primaries are Tuesday, June 5.