By Jason KUROSU
Glendale City Council member Laura Friedman and Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian have announced their candidacies for the state assembly, with both members of the city government vying to represent the 43rd district. The 43rd encompasses Glendale, Burbank, La Crescenta, La Cañada and portions of Los Angeles. The seat will be available in 2016 when current assemblymember Mike Gatto completes his third two-year term.
Friedman has served on the city council since 2009 and was mayor of Glendale in 2011 and 2012. In a press release, Friedman stated, “During six years on Glendale’s City Council, I have focused on supporting small businesses, job creation, the arts, historic preservation, and protecting single family neighborhoods, while also initiating aggressive policies regarding environmental sustainability. Now I want to bring that passion and experience to Sacramento on behalf of our district and our state.”
Friedman’s assembly campaign is focused on the expansion of small businesses and keeping the state legislature separate from local government affairs.
“Sacramento hasn’t worked hard enough to make California a good place for people to start and expand business,” said Friedman. “In my six years on the Glendale City Council, I have worked to make the climate friendlier to small business so that we can have good jobs and a thriving economy, but I don’t see that same kind of effort coming from Sacramento.”
Friedman, who also owns Planet Glass, a jewelry website, said that it has become difficult for small businesses to flourish in today’s business environment.
“As a small business owner, I know how expensive and difficult it can be to operate a small business. Sacramento needs to address the onerous fees and rigid regulations facing businesses so that we don’t keep losing jobs to other states.”
Friedman said that local governments are best fit to handle certain issues within their jurisdictions, as they have a closer connection to the issues and the results of governmental decision-making.
“Government works best when it’s closest to the people. Sacramento needs to leave local issues up to local governments and not try to force a one-size-fits-all approach onto all cities,” she said. “What works for downtown Glendale might not be right for the Crescenta Valley, and it should be up to the people in those different areas to decide what they want their communities to look like, not Sacramento.”
Kassakhian has served as Glendale City Clerk since 2005. In a press release announcing his candidacy, Kassakhian stated, “As the City Clerk for one of L.A. County’s largest cities, I have worked tirelessly to engage citizens in our democratic process, protect peoples’ right to vote and ensure that government works in a fair and transparent way.
“We all want safe neighborhoods, better schools, and quality jobs – for us and our children. And in order to do this, we need someone who is from our district, invested in our common future and who won’t play the usual politics. We need someone who will put the district’s interests first and won’t back down in the face of challenges.
“I am that person and I hope you will support me to be your next state assemblyman.”
Kassakhian hopes to bring his experience working in municipal affairs and as a lifetime local resident to the legislature, with a focus in strengthening the economy and education system.
“As someone with deep roots in the 43rd Assembly district, I believe I know it better than any other candidate and understand the challenges that face its communities, families and businesses. My near decade of public service as the elected city clerk of one of L.A. County’s largest cities has given me insight into how to make government work the we way we want it to.
“I will bring my unique perspective, as someone who grew up here, went to school here, and who is raising his family here, to Sacramento and be an advocate for preparing California to face the challenges of tomorrow. We need to ensure that we have a strong education system, a diverse economy and safe neighborhoods to raise our families in.
“Bottom line, with my roots and experience in the community, I believe I can attract jobs to our region, provide higher level support to our schools and teachers, and put government to work for our citizens by being their chief advocate in Sacramento.”