Mayor Keith Curry announced his plans to run for the 74th Assembly District on Wednesday at an early morning Chamber of Commerce Wake Up! Newport meeting.
If elected, Curry would take the seat vacated by Allan Mansoor, who intends to run for a spot on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. That position will be termed out by John Moorlach, who plans on vying for a seat in Congress, replacing retiring incumbent John Campbell.
“I’m looking forward to the race,“ Curry said, “and I’m looking forward to making a positive contribution in Sacramento to improving the tone, the dialog and to keeping the state economically strong and viable.”
Curry, a republican, would aim to make the state more of a partner with what’s going on in Newport Beach, he added. For example, working on accelerating the expansion of Crystal Cove State Park, funding for the science center in Upper Newport Bay and working with Caltrans to better manage traffic in the city, he explained.
He’d also like to see the cities get more flexibility and introduce more effective pension reforms.
“We need to change the tone in Sacramento,” Curry said. “And we need to focus on solving real problems for real people.”
By using practical approaches that bring people together collaboratively, no matter their political party, he said.
There are a lot of issues the state needs to work on, Curry said, like taxes, the realignment program, pensions, economic strength, jobs, parks and recreation and more.
The processes, political divide and red tape cause problems, he added.
“Sacramento continues to be mired in gridlock and ideological paralysis,” Curry said. “So in order to address all of the issues that face our city, we must change Sacramento.”
Chamber president and CEO and former councilman, Steve Rosansky, gave his endorsement of Curry after the announcement. Marian Bergeson, Paul Salata, and councilmen Mike Henn, Rush Hill, Tony Petros and Ed Selich have all endorsed him as well, Curry said.
Curry said he and his wife, Pamela, were vacationing for a few nights in the desert when the topic came up after he heard that John Moorlach was running for Congress.
He thought he’d go for it, he said.
Curry was appointed to city council in 2006 and has since twice served as mayor. He has also served as a special assistant to the Federal Transit Administrator under President Ronald Reagan. He also founded the Center for Public Policy at Concordia University.
Locally, he has worked to reform the city charter, introduced the Fiscal Sustainability Plan, helped open the OASIS Senior Center, create a memorial for the U.S. Marines in Castaways Park and a statue of Reagan in Bonita Canyon Sports Park.
During the meeting, Curry said this year has been “transformational” for Newport Beach and sets the city up for a future with financial strength, economic vitality and a high quality of life and low crime.
“A place that people from all over the world want to come and visit and people aspire to live here,” Curry said. “I wish I could say that the same was true for our great state of California, but it‘s not.”
Curry noted the John Wayne Airport settlement agreement, outcome of the goals from the fiscal sustainability plan for the recession, city budget, crime in the city, outsourcing the trash, the civic center and more.
“With your help, we will take the good things that we’ve done in Newport Beach,” and bring them to Sacramento, Curry said. “To have our state achieve the same kind of success that we’ve achieved here in Newport Beach.”