Redlands residents will vote on four California Assembly Districts that include parts of the city on the June 7 primary election.
Assembly District 45
Incumbent Assemblyman James C. Ramos, a Democrat from Highland, will face Republican Joe W. Martinez, a trustee on the Rialto Unified School District board, according to the unofficial list.
The new district covers parts of including portions of Fontana, Highland, Rialto, Redlands, San Bernardino.
Ramos, a former member of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and trustee on the San Bernardino City School District board, was elected to the Assembly with more than 59% of the vote in 2020. He defeated San Bernardino City Councilman Henry Nickel.
Ramos is former chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and is the first Native American to be elected to the California Legislature.
Martinez was first elected to the Rialto school board in 2008 and has been reelected three times since. He is a was a classified employee with the district and served as president of the union until he retired, according to a campaign page for reelection to the school board. A congressional campaign page has not been posted.
He has had a career in electronics, is a licensed broadcast engineer and a former member of the San Bernardino County sheriff’s Mounted Posse.
Assembly District 47
The district covers south Redlands and extends into Riverside County, including part of the city of Riverside, extending east along State Route 60 on the west and Interstate 10 on the east.
Two Republicans are running for the seat, Gary Michaels, a resident of Bermuda Dunes in the Coachella Valley, and Greg Wallis of Yucaipa. Two Democrats, Christy Holstege and Jaime Swain as also in the race.
Michaels is managing partner of Summa Solutions, an agency dedicated to helping businesses and K-12 schools across the country contract with fiber Internet carriers, said his website for a campaign for the State Senate in 2020. He lost to Democrat S. Monique Limón in District 19 in the Santa Barbara area.
He has worked in broadcasting and cable, and telecommunications.
Wallis is district adviser to Assemblyman Chad Mayes, a former Republican who is now an independent. Mayes is not seeking reelection this year.
“He has been involved in every aspect of crafting public policy, from renewable energy to sustainable water,” says his website gregwallis.org/meet-greg.
No information about the Democratic candidates is listed.
Assembly District 50
The district covers parts of San Bernardino County, including the whole cities of Loma Linda and Colton, and portions of San Bernardino, Redlands, Rialto, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana and Ontario.
A Republican and a Libertarian are challenging incumbent Eloise Gómez Reyes, a Democrat who is the majority leader in the Assembly. Gómez Reyes was first elected in November 2016, defeating Republican Cheryl R. Brown with more than 54% of the vote.
When she ran unchallenged in 2018. She was re-elected with more than 69% of the vote in November 2020.
This year’s Republican challenger is Sheela Ahmadzai Stark, owner and founder of the Law Offices of Sheela A. Stark.
“Her firm is rapidly growing due to her reputation as a compassionate, but straight-forward and brutally honest attorney championing for her client's rights,” says the website ranchostarklaw.com/meet-ms-stark.html.
The Libertarian challenger is Rodgir L. Cohen of Redlands, who says he “believes in the fight for liberty. As a veteran and professor, he wants to ‘take back California’ and empower those who the government is meant to serve: the people.”
His website is rlcforassembly.com. He is the author of “Foundations of Political Science, 2021.”
No photo of Stark could be found.
Assembly District 34
The district covers a vast area from west of Interstate 5 and the desert areas intersected by interstates 15 and 40 past Barstow to the Nevada border.
The primary pits two Republican Assembly incumbents, Thurston “Smitty” Smith of Hesperia and Thomas Lackey of Lancaster, against one another. Also on the ballot is another Republican, Paul Fournier, Democrat Rita Ramirez-Dean of Twentynine Palms, and Roger LaPlante, an independent.
Smith was elected by nearly 55% of the vote, defeating fellow Republican Rick Herrick in 2020. Herrick was mayor of Big Bear Lake.
Smith succeeded another in former mayor of Big Bear Lake, Jay Obernolte, after Obernolte was elected to Congress. Smith, who was born in Hesperia, is the former owner of concrete company who served on the Hesperia City Council from 2006 to 2014 and on the Mojave Valley Water Agency from 2016 to 2018.
Born in Boron, Lackey was an Eagle Scout who taught in special education for two years. He then went to work for the California Highway Patrol, a job he held for 28 years. He served on the Palmdale City Council from 2005 to 2014 before being elected to the Assembly in 2014.
After challenging incumbent Democrat Steve Fox in 2012 and losing by 395 votes — less than 1% of the vote — he ousted Fox with more than 60% of the vote in 2014. It was one of most costly elections of the year with more than $2.2 million spent by the rivals.
Fournier says on his website that his family has been in California since the Gold Rush. “Right now, most people don’t think California is the kind of place the next generation can afford to live a middle-class life,” Fournier said. “The cost of living is just too high, and many of the jobs we are creating don’t really allow a person to get ahead. It will be my priority to lower some of the taxes and fees on housing and gasoline and food that make it hard just to get by.”
Ramirez-Dean, a former professor at College of the Desert in the Coachella Valley, has run for the Assembly twice and for Congress twice, unsuccessfully. She ran against former U.S. Rep. Paul Cook in 2016. Cook won by two-thirds of the vote.
LaPlante, a Gulf War veteran, came in last in the primary for the race between Ramirez-Dean and Cook, out of five candidates. LaPlante ran as a Democrat in 2016 but is listed as non-partisan in the June primary.
In a Ballotopedia survey before the race, he listed his top concerns as protecting veterans rights and Social Security benefits, water conservation and Citizens United.