Conway, Macareno campaign for State Senate
By Paul Myers
tulare county – It seems as if last November’s election was just yesterday. And while voters may be reflecting on the consequences of their vote, candidates are already gearing up for November 2018.
Just last week on May 1, former California State Assembly leader Connie Conway announced she will be running for California State Senate District 16. Current senator Jean Fuller is slated to term out on December 2, 2018. She began her first term as senator in December 2010 and is now the Senate minority leader. Conway announced her candidacy at the Chinese Cultural Center in Visalia last week.
Conway served as a Tulare County Supervisor from 2000 to 2008. She then served as the minority leader in the California State Assembly representing the 26th district, currently represented by Devon Mathis. Since her final term in the Assembly, Conway was elected to the Tulare County Republican Central Committee.
“I am honored and humbled by the outpouring of support I have received,” Conway said when asked about her upcoming campaign. “I take this very seriously and will strive to do my best to represent the district with honesty and integrity, and never forget those I represent.”
California’s 16th Senate District spans a large swath of the Central Valley and stretching near the central coast. The district expands south, past the Highway 40 Interstate to Yucca Valley, and reaches north to include Visalia and Tulare at its peak.
While Fuller’s seat will see a new face for certain next November, senator Andy Vidak representing district 14 is already facing a challenger to stave off next year. As recently as last Friday, long time office seeker Ruben Macareno of Farmersville announced at a Latino Democrats Cinco de Mayo gathering of friends and supporters in Tulare that he will campaign for the 14th State Senate seat.
The Democratic candidate noted in a press release that Matt Rogers, US Senator Kamala Harris’s District Director; Emilio Huerta the 2016 Democratic nominee for the 21st Congressional District which overlaps the 14th State Senate district; his hometown City Councilman Greg Gomez and others were in attendance.
“Vidak has failed to represent the working families of the district. He voted against [Senate Bill 54] protecting families from President Donald Trump’s aggressive deportation policy,” Macareno said in a press release. Macareno noted in the same press release that Vidak often times does not speak on the Senate floor but instead listens to the debates on the issue. Macareno added that he would be a more active advocate if he was elected.
“I will be the voice for the 14th without hesitation on the senate floor and not sit it out. It is time that the district has someone to represent them who are just like them who has the same worries and concerns as they do,” said Macareno.
Until July of last year Macareno served as the Chairman of the Tulare County Democratic Party, Founder and President of Latino Democrats of Tulare County, a District Delegate to the Democratic National Convention and was the 2016 Democratic candidate for the 26th State Assembly last year. However, Macareno went on to lose in the runoff to Devon Mathis by more than 30,000 votes, 76,289 to 44,205.
His campaign manager is Art Rodriguez, a central valley political operative who is an elected official in Tulare County and president of an anti-pesticides advocacy group.
Macareno graduated from Exeter Union High School and Los Angeles City College. He is an Alumni Scholar from California State University, Los Angeles. He is married with two adult children.
Macareno is the latest Central Valley Democrat to throw his hat in the ring for a traditionally Republican seat. Fresno County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Janz announced his candidacy two weeks ago for Devin Nunes’ 22nd California Congressional District. Nunes national profile deflated as quickly as it inflated during the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Donald Trump’s ties with the Russian government. Nunes, as chairman of the committee, failed to share emerging information with other committee members while allegedly sharing information with the President. Since then Nunes has stepped down following an investigation by the House Committee on Ethics.