Approval: Sydney Kamlager for the California State Senate

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Either way, novice California lawmakers have a steep learning curve to climb before they can hope to do much in Sacramento. It takes time to build the relationships and forge the alliances necessary to pass a law, hire strong support staff, and carve out a political niche.

But the curve is even steeper for newbies joining the California Assembly or Senate mid-session without the support and camaraderie of a first-graders. This is what the winner of the upcoming special election for the 30th District of the State Senate will face, and it is one of the reasons – but one among many – that the top pick in this race. is MP Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles).

As a member of the Assembly since 2018 and chair of the Los Angeles Legislative Delegation, Kamlager has already forged crucial political ties and has proven his ability to work effectively within the labyrinthine apparatus of the California legislature. We are confident that she will be able to take this seat and get to work immediately, unlike the other candidates.

Kamlager is one of seven people vying for the seat, which was left vacant when Holly Mitchell won election to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in November. Ballots for the March 2 primary have already been mailed to voters in that district, which stretches from south Los Angeles to downtown and west to Mar Vista and Culver City. And if no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes cast, the first two candidates will go to the second round on May 4.

Ideally, Kamlager will win the primary and save the district from a run-off (although that would trigger another special election in the overlapping assembly district 54). She is by far the best qualified candidate, and that will not change in two months. Kamlager is an astute and thoughtful decision maker who understands the complexities involved and the issues facing communities in this district, region and state during this particularly difficult time.

Prior to joining the Assembly, Kamlager worked as District Director for Mitchell, first in the Assembly and then in the Senate. We supported Kamlager in 2015 for his first elected position on the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Directors due to his deep understanding of how community colleges fit into the political and educational ecosystems.

Kamlager is progressive, but not radically. She supports the state’s climate change goals and the Green New Deal, and was a co-author of a landmark bill to reduce plastic packaging. She campaigns for more housing, but not to the detriment of the black and Latino neighborhoods in her neighborhood. One example is his opposition last year to SB 1120 by Senate Speaker Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), a bill that would have allowed duplexes on all single-family lots. It took courage to vote no to a bill brought by the head of an agency you need cooperation to get anything through.

But she’s had the most impact so far working on police accountability and criminal justice reform, which are central issues for much of the district she represents in the assembly and hopes represent in the Senate. Among the bills it has sponsored include a bottom cap on probation for most offenses and a pilot program move emergency response services from police to community organizations.

There is another impressive candidate in this race: Daniel lee, member of Culver City Council. During his three years in this role, he was instrumental in enacting the city’s first rent control measure and started important conversations about police accountability. Lee is a more progressive Democrat than Kamlager but also pragmatic, and we think he would make a good lawmaker.

We briefly considered endorsing Lee against Kamlager with the reasoning that his victory would see both of them serve in the legislature. Kamlager has not given up her seat in the Assembly and will not be expelled for a decade. But ultimately we decided that the question before the voters is not about the ideal composition of the legislature, but which of the seven candidates is the best for the district. Without a doubt, that person is Kamlager.

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