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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

Monique on '20: I'll Decide Within 60 Days

With Santa Barbara’s political world awaiting her decision, Assembly member Monique Limon says she will decide “within 60 days” whether to seek re-election or run for state Senator Hannah Beth Jackson’s seat next year.

“By March I will have a decision,” Monique told Newsmakers in a telephone interview from Sacramento on Thursday.

“It’s not my intention to make it harder for others who may want to run for” Assembly or Senate, she said. “But I’m not making this decision for anybody else. I’m doing my due diligence about where the best spot is for me.”

Limon, who won her second term last November, is being strongly encouraged, particularly by advocates for women’s issues, to run in 2020 for the termed-out seat of Jackson, who is celebrated in progressive and feminist spheres for her legislative successes over the past seven years.

Supervisor Das Williams, who had been viewed widely as the most likely successor to Jackson, told Newsmakers last fall that he would not run for the seat if Limon wanted to go for it, setting off a swirl of speculation, scenarios and musical chairs maneuvering among and between the cognoscenti.

If she did, Limon's move would have a ripple effect in local politics: a battalion of ambitious pols in SB and Ventura Counties already are calculating the odds of moving up the ladder – either by vying for her current seat if she runs for senate or the senate seat if she stays put.

Among perhaps a dozen names that feature in political gossip on the subject are SB council members Jason Dominguez and Kristen Sneddon; Luz Reyes Martin and Susan Epstein of the Goleta School Board member; SB school board member Laura Capps and former Mayor Helene Schneider; Ventura City Council member Erik Nasarenko and Matt LaVere, that city's deputy mayor.

Limon says she “absolutely respects” the concerns of those who might jump into a race for one of the two legislative seats, but feels genuinely torn about her pending decision, and is determined not to be rushed into making it:

For Limon, the decision of whether to remain in the Assembly, where she produced a strong performance in her first term, and to which she is all but certain to be re-elected in November, carries several calculations.

Under California’s term limits law, state legislators are limited to a total of 12 years in office – six two-year Assembly terms, three four-year senate terms, or a combination thereof. If she is re-elected, she would be eligible for eight more years in office: the idea of having to run only two campaigns for four-year senate terms might easily prove more attractive than having to run four more times for two-year Assembly terms.

However, she has done well in her first two years, winning a post in the hierarchical leadership of the dominant Democratic majority, as well as becoming chair of the influential Banking and Finance Committee and a sub-committee chair on the powerful Budget Committee. In addition, there often are prickly rivalries that develop between the two houses over legislation and budget issues.

The primary election for both the Assembly and Senate will be held in March 2020; Limon said that deciding by March of this year gives others plenty of notice and running room to make their own choices about the political futures.

Images: Monique Limon; Das Williams; Jason Dominguez; Hannah Beth Jackson.

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