Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, a city council deputy and a son of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, has entered the expected race for a Los Angeles-area seat in the state Assembly.
Ridley-Thomas, 25, said he will run for the 54th Assembly District post currently held by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles). Mitchell plans to seek the state Senate district seat that opened with the recent election of Curren D. Price Jr. to the Los Angeles City Council. If she wins that post in a special election this fall, as many observers expect, there will be another special election to fill her seat in the Legislature's lower house.
The Assembly district includes Culver City, View Park, Windsor Hills, Ladera Heights and parts of West and Southwest Los Angeles.
Ridley-Thomas currently is Price's senior council deputy for education, economic development and health. He also worked on Price's state Senate staff as policy director.
"For the past six years, I have been intimately involved in the development of policy proposals and formulation of draft legislation on issues that are of prime importance to the residents of our community: economic development, transportation, housing, public safety and local government issues," Ridley-Thomas said in a statement announcing his candidacy.
"I firmly believe the work I've done on these issues and other matters has prepared me to represent the interest of the people ... and to do so with great energy and understanding," the statement continued.
Those family ties probably aren't going to hurt, either. The younger Ridley-Thomas said he already has raised more than $100,000 for his campaign and has lined up an array of endorsements from business and civic leaders. They include businessman and former L.A. Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner and Democratic Party activist Hope Warschaw.
Mark Ridley-Thomas, who chairs the Board of Supervisors, previously held a seat on the Los Angeles City Council and founded the Empowerment Congress, a community-based movement. The candidate's mother and supervisor's wife, Avis Ridley-Thomas, pioneered conflict resolution techniques.
Several others also have declared their candidacy for the seat. According to the California Target Book, a nonpartisan tracker of state legislative and congressional races, they include Joey Hill, who is chief of staff to Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles); transit activist Damien Goodman, who is chair of the Crenshaw Subway Coalition; teacher and Democratic Party activist Loren Scott; Erick Morales, a board member of the South Robertson Neighborhood Council, and Christopher Armenta, a former Culver City councilman.
All are Democrats. Registration in the district is 63% Democratic, 11% Republican and 16% no party preference.