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UPDATED: Parker, Runner decision is today

Politics: Voters will choose Senator for state's 17th District

Posted: February 13, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 15, 2011 1:00 p.m.

Santa Clarita Valley voters are viting today to decide whether former state assemblywoman Sharon Runner or longtime Democratic activist Darren Parker will fill California’s recently vacated 17th District state Senate seat.

Only registered voters who live in the 17th District, which spans the majority of the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys in addition to large swaths of San Bernardino and Ventura counties, will be eligible to vote in Tuesday’s special primary election.

The state Senate seat was previously occupied by Runner’s husband, George Runner, who stepped down from the position in November after being elected to the State Board of Equalization.

In the candidates’ public debate on Feb. 7, televised on local community television channel SCVTV, both Parker and Runner underscored their commitment to addressing the district’s economic woes and regenerating jobs.

During the debate, Parker characterized Runner as part of the political institution that has led California into staggering debt and stressed the need for new voices to help revitalize the district’s economy and collaborate with state senators on both sides of the aisle.

“I’m not happy with the situation of our state — I’m here to be part of the solution ... and to bring our Senate district back where it belongs,” he said. “We need a new formula.”

Runner emphasized her six years of experience in the state assembly and pledged to oppose any new taxes or state environmental regulations, such as those within the California Global Warming Solutions Act, that are burdensome to local businesses.

“As a wife, mother and grandmother, I’m concerned about the future,” Runner said. “That’s why my No. 1 priority is getting people back to work.”

When asked whether he would support Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to extend tax increases statewide, Parker said he supports maintaining California’s current level of taxes during the next five years, but does not favor raising new taxes.


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