January 30, 2004

Six Candidates Running for State Assembly, District 76

By Raymond R. Beltrán

In the nearing Primary Elections on March 2, 76th District State Assembly Representative Christine Kehoe will be completing her last term in office, having been originally elected in 2000, and re-elected in 2002. Currently running for the candidacy will be Democrats Vince Hall, Heidi von Szeliski, Lori Saldaña, Republicans Bill Stamps, Tricia Hunter, and Libertarian Jennifer Osborne.

District 76 covers areas in San Diego stretching from Downtown to the Interstate 15 Freeway, down to just above the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway. Neighborhoods within the district include Point Loma, Clairemont, the beach cities, Linda Vista, North and South Park, Hillcrest, Old Town and Mission Valley, to name only a few.

Assembly District demographics show that Latinos make up 20% of the population, following the “white” community, who make up 62%. Asian Americans make up 8.3%, and the African American population has a percentage rate of 6.4%. Among all registered voters, it has been recorded in 2001 that there are 22,437 Latino voters in the district.

As stated in the previous La Prensa edition covering the State Assembly Primary Elections, the role of a State Assembly elect is to represent the district, in this case District 76, by creating or deciding on laws based on California’s State Legislative matters.

Unlike District 78, the State Assembly, 76th District, Primary Elections do not bare down to the race for one candidate from only one party. In this race, three Democrats and two Republicans will try to earn the votes, which will take one candidate from each party to the General Elections. In the Primaries, the candidate with the most votes, from each party, will face off in the Generals in November, later this year.

Below is a list of the candidates’ information. Republican candidate, Tricia Hunter, has not yet responded to requests for an interview.

The Democrats

Lori Saldaña

Lori Saldaña is a San Diego native who grew up in Clairemont. She attended Madison High School, and attended college at San Diego State University, earning a Master’s Degree in Education. She currently works as a professor at the San Diego Community College District.

Saldaña became President Clinton’s appointee to the Border Environment Cooperation Commission’s Advisory Council in 1999 to review, plan and fund water quality improvement projects in San Diego and Tijuana. Serving as the United Co-Chair of Advisory Council, she’s helped to get invested $60 million in local potable water, reclamation and sewage treatment projects, as well as cleaner water at the U.S./Mexico Border. In managing a $1.5 million Technology Workforce Grant for the San Diego Community College District in 2001, she’s helped to design three new computer labs and has created new multimedia and technology training programs for young students at risk of dropping out of school.

Vince Hall (D)

As a graduate of San Diego State University and resident of San Diego for twenty years, Vince Hall is currently a candidate for State Assembly office in the 76th district. Having spent his professional time in both the public and private sectors of the City of San Diego, Hall promotes the parallel between the region and the need to maintain San Diego’s long-standing relationship with the military.

Having recently been a staff director for former Governor Gray Davis, Vince Hall worked alongside the California State Legislature to advocate for parks, transportation and economic development in San Diego. Even before Davis was elected, Hall had served for him as a Communications Director, and he was also District Director and Technology Advisor for Congressman Bob Filner. Hall is a former board member of the International Visitors Council.

To promote the military in the local region and state, he also serves on the California Defense Retention and Conversion Council, where he works directly with the city, military, and government. Currently, Hall is the CEO of SimpleGov.com, providing internet access to the state.

Heidi von Szeliski (D)

Heidi von Szeliski is a senior partner in the San Diego office of Decision Research at a Washington, D.C.-based Democratic polling firm. She is also a candidate for the State Assembly, District 76 Primary Elections.

She received graduate and undergraduate training at the University of California, San Diego. She says she is a candidate who is inspired by political figures such as Susan B. Anthony and Frederick D. Roosevelt and that her immediate goals would be to shape policy for Democrats and associations, “particularly on public education, environment, health care, social services, taxes and civil rights.

She says her personal claim to fame occurred in a small town in Oregon, where she had erected a message on a Hasty Freeze marquee that read “Safe Schools for Our Kids, Safeguards for The Taxpayers.” The sign pertained to a school bond she introduced that won.

Jennifer Osborne (LIB)

Jennifer Osborne, a native of San Diego, is currently running for State Assembly, District 76. As the only Libertarian on this ballot, she says that she’s come to the conclusion that politics is too serious to leave in the hands of politicians. She’s a graduate of University of California, San Diego. Osborne is currently working as a Tax Preparer and a Notary in a local Certified Public Accountant’s office in Pacific Beach. In her spare time, she designs costumes for shows in San Diego.

Jennifer Osborne states, “I am running as the people’s voice for smaller government, which will put you in greater control of your own life.”

Bill Stamps (R)

A native of Los Angeles, Bill Stamps has moved from city to city as a career professional in the communications business. After having graduated from University of Washington in Seattle, the former football player was offered a career at NBC Television Station in Tri Cities, Washington. He’s traveled, while climbing up the television business latter, to places like Birmingham, Alabama and Fresno. Finally, in 2000, he took a position as television reporter at Fox Station, which brought him to San Diego. Today, Bill Stamps is working as a child-care worker at San Pasqual Academy for foster teens in a program called New Alternatives.

Stamps lives in Clairemont and is running for State Assembly, District 76. As a self-proclaimed “Latino Friendly Republican,” he says he supports the president’s guest worker initiative, but feels that our borders need to be strengthened. Other issues he says he will highlight are parent involvement in student’s education, supporting small businesses, concentrating on the source of drug trafficking and Native American gaming taxation for wealthier tribes. He firmly believes in Christian principles and supports keeping “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

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