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Third Democrat jumps into local congressional race

Posted: October 22, 2013 4:59 p.m.
Updated: October 22, 2013 4:59 p.m.
Congressional candidate Jorge Ricardo “J.R.” Puentes Jr. Congressional candidate Jorge Ricardo “J.R.” Puentes Jr.
Congressional candidate Jorge Ricardo “J.R.” Puentes Jr.

Already three Democrats have announced their intention to run next year to represent the 25th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.

The most recent Democratic declaration comes from Jorge Ricardo “J.R.” Puentes Jr., who joins Lancaster resident and Air Force veteran Evan Thomas and Simi Valley podiatrist Lee Rogers in challenging longtime incumbent Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita.

Rogers was the lone Democratic candidate in the 2012 race.

Puentes, who is himself an Army veteran, hails from Llano, a town located southeast of Palmdale near the San Bernardino County line.

In a phone interview last weekend, Puentes said he was inspired to run so he could help those he feels are typically overlooked by politicians.

To do so, Puentes said he would draw upon his own experience with injustice, something he said he had been struggling with his entire life.

“I’ve dealt with obstacle after obstacle and I refuse to stay down; I refuse to stay quiet any longer,” he said.

Puentes said he served in the Army until 2005. An injury left him bed-ridden, and he says even now he uses medicinal marijuana to help him cope with the aftermath of the injury.

He and his family have struggled and continue to struggle with money, he said.

But that experience is what makes him ideally suited to serve in Congress, Puentes said, as it puts him more in touch with the people he would represent.

“I want the people to know I’m one of them,” Puentes said.

Puentes also added he thinks people need to stop electing members of the “elite” if they want to see meaningful change in politics.

“We complain that nothing changes,” he said. “I’m not complaining any more. I’m doing something about it.”

His run for Congress will pit him against two other Democratic candidates, including Rogers, who is already raising money for a potential 2014 rematch with McKeon.

“I believe he’s an excellent candidate but I don’t think that’s what our district needs,” Puentes said of Rogers. “I truly believe the people need to put one of their own in office; it’s the only way they’re going to have a voice in office.”
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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