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McKeon aims for state Assembly seat

Election: Bag ban gave congressman’s wife inspiration to run

Posted: November 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Assembly candidate Patricia McKeon says she’s busy, tough-skinned and eager to embrace comparisons drawn between her and her congressman husband.

McKeon on Monday shared the beliefs and frustrations behind her decision to run for public office at age 70 with no electoral experience.

“There are many reasons people run for office,” she said in an interview with The Signal. “Some people run for office just to then run for the next elected office. For me, it wasn’t that way at all.”

McKeon said the issue that pushed her to run for state office was the conviction that government was too intrusive in people’s lives, a message brought home through an encounter at a local supermarket where plastic bags were banned due to county legislation.

She said she was asked by the checkout clerk, “Do you want to pay 10 cents for paper bags?” When she replied “no” and asked for plastic, she was told plastic bags were not available any longer to supermarket shoppers in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

“The more I thought about it, the more upset I got,” she recalled. When she asked her son what he thought of her running for public office, pointing out she had never run before, “He said, ‘Well, Mom, maybe that’s a good thing. People are looking for something.’”

McKeon has announced she will run for the GOP nomination in the 38th Assembly District, from which Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, is being termed out next year.

She’s expected to face two other local Republicans in the bid for the nomination. At least one Democrat has also announced for the seat being vacated by Smyth.

Patricia McKeon has raised six children and has 31 grandchildren.

“I am a busy person. I wear many hats,” she said.

A typical day for her begins by searching the Internet for news while the TV is set to Fox News.

Her computer’s default page is set to MSNBC. From there, she checks out the Huffington Post and other news sites.

Asked where National Public Radio fits into her news schedule, she said: “In the taxi cab. They always have it on in the taxi cabs.”

Running an Assembly district is not dissimilar to running a household, she said.

“I ran government in my home,” she said proudly during the 30-minute interview. “There’s no question there is a government in your home. You have a budget. You have a bottom line. You have personalities. You have training. You have health care. You have education. There are standards.”

The first one out of the gate to announce her candidacy, McKeon said she already has the endorsements of Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley.

She said she’s also been invited to join GOP Assembly leader Connie Conway’s “blonde caucus,” adding: “We know how to get things done.”

Meanwhile, McKeon works diligently on her husband’s campaign. She and her husband will both be seeking election in November, he to a 10th term as congressman.

“I’m the treasurer for Buck’s campaign. I handle and take care of all the money and do all the financial reporting,” she said. “I protect every $25, $5 (and) $10 contribution that people give to Buck. I make sure they’re used appropriately.”


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