By Mary O’KEEFE
Assemblymember Anthony Portantino has announced via email late Wednesday evening that he will not be running for office in 2012.
He stated that his decision was made due to family obligations. Portantino has represented the 44th Assembly District since 2006. He is a democrat that has often been at odds with his party by not voting along party lines. He most recently was the only Assembly democrat who voted against Gov. Edmund G. Brown’s budget.
During his time in office he was instrumental in establishing the California Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program and has worked in support of the HIV/AIDS community. He was appointed to the California Film Commission and is the chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Preservation of California’s Entertainment Industry.
Although La Crescenta is not part of District 44, Portantino is well known to community members. The word of his decision not to run has swept through the area.
“I think he will never regret this decision. His mother needs him now and it is a good man who goes to his mother in her time of need. Politics will always be there, but life is so precious,” said Danette Erickson, Crescenta Valley Town Council member.
Below is the email Assemblymember Anthony Portantino sent on Wednesday evening:
“Thank you for your patience and trust. After deep contemplation with [wife] Ellen, I have decided not to run for office during the 2012 election cycle. As many of you know, the last 13 months have been very difficult for my family. My mother, Barbara Portantino, has not been in good health, particularly since my brother Michael’s untimely death last December.
Many of you met Barbara at last year’s holiday Open House and have kindly asked about her. Mom is currently awaiting surgery on Feb. 14.
Since I will be travelling back East to help with Mom’s care and it is likely that I will be needed in New Jersey to pack up her house and to help with her transition into assisted living, I won’t be available to campaign in the manner that my supporters expect and our district deserves, while still attending to my legislative responsibilities.
Ellen and I are grateful for the tremendous support that I have received during my five years in the State Legislature and the eight years prior on the La Cañada Flintridge City Council. Your ongoing support and encouragement for me to continue serving in office is truly appreciated. I assure you that I will not be ending my public service.
My father died when I was 11 years old and my mother has been the most significant influence on my life. I need to spend as much time with her as I can as she fights to reclaim her mobility in the time she has left as the matriarch of our family.
I hope you will understand that this decision in no way ends my political career. Placing it on ‘hold’ allows me to focus on my family while they need me. I will continue to work to put trust and accountability back into public service, now and in the future.
We in the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys are blessed to have excellent representatives in Sacramento and in Washington who warrant our support. I will be offering them mine as I take care of my family and await a future opportunity to serve.
Thank you for your support, trust and patience. I look forward to sharing some good news about Barbara with you soon.”