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Zink takes on incumbent

Hopeful for state Senate a Marine who went to Iraq

Posted: September 24, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 24, 2012 2:00 a.m.

 Editor’s note: One of a series on candidates in this November’s election.


Todd Zink, the family man reservist tapped by military leaders to lead troops in Afghanistan, believes politics should still be “a force of good.”

Zink, the Republican contender who performed better than incumbent Democrat Fran Pavley in the June primary for the state’s 27th District Senate seat, shared his thoughts and campaign goals with The Signal’s Editorial Board this past week,

“I still do believe that politics should be a force of good,” he said. “They make really important decisions in Sacramento that affect everybody.

“The key word is ‘public servant’ but the ‘servant’ part of that gets forgotten with some of the folks there.”

As a newcomer to the political arena, Zink emerged from the June primary with 57,493 votes, or 50.6 percent of the vote, and Pavley with 56,226 votes, or 49.4 percent, according to the California Secretary of State’s Office.

Just 1,267 voters separated Zink from long-standing Democrat incumbent Sen. Fran Pavley in California’s state Senate District 27.

“I was in the reserves and that profoundly impacted me,” Zink said reflecting on the steps that led him to be one of the two contenders in this November’s race for State Senate District 27.

Although new to the political scene, his resume is dotted with terms of duty and service.

The married Westlake Village father of two was an Eagle Scout, early on, earning a scholarship in the Naval ROTC program at the University of Southern California.

He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He became an infantry officer and a graduate of Ranger, Combat Dive and Airborne schools.

Even before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he helped those trying to restore order in war-torn Somalia.

When the terrorists attacked on 9-11, Zink returned to active duty.

His Marine Reserve company from Naval Base Ventura County was activated as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and became part of the only reserve infantry battalion to take part in the march to Baghdad to oust Saddam Hussein.

“With my interest in politics at an early age still in tact, I called on a close friend who works as a consultant in Sacramento who was one of the Marines in the 1st Reserve unit I served with,” Zink explained.

“He was one of the few guys I knew was in the political arena,” he said.

His motivation? Redistricting of his neighborhood that was being discussed by the California Citizens for Redistricting.

“I was very interested in the redistricting that had just recently taken place and one thing led to another and I found myself at a very opportune time to run for state Senate.”

What encouraged him to go up against “a well-seated opponent”?

Zink, who worked as a deputy district attorney in areas such as Compton and Watts, credits his wife for convincing him to act.

“My wife was pushing me and encouraging me that it was the right thing to do,” he said.



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