Leticia Perez announces candidacy for state Senate

Leticia Perez announces candidacy for state Senate
Leticia Perez prepares to take the oath of office as newly elected Kern County supervisor in December 2012 in a ceremony in the board chambers at the county administration building in downtown Bakersfield, Calif. (File photo)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- Recently elected 5th District Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez announced Monday that she is running for the state Senate.

Perez made history when she was elected to the board of supervisors, becoming the first Latina in the entire Central Valley to win a seat as a district representative. She only started her job as Kern County supervisor in January.

Now, she's going after the seat in the 16th Senate District, which was vacated recently by Michael Rubio, who took a private sector job with oil giant Chevron halfway through his elected term.

Perez, a former Kern County public defender, said in a phone interview that her commitment to pursue the higher office in no way interferes with her commitment to the people of the county's 5th District. Perez, who is a Democrat,  noted that the 16th Senate District encompasses much of the 5th District, and the state office would afford even more opportunities to better serve the local communities she currently represents.

"... I intend to begin walking door-to-door next week to present myself to as many voters individually as is humanly possible," said Perez in a written statement.

Other announced candidates are Kern County Democrat Fran Florez (Shafter City Council member), Fresno Republican John Estrada and Hanford Republican Andy Vidak.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a special election May 21 for the 16th Senate District seat. A special runoff election, if needed, will be July 23.