Virginia Madueno, former mayor of Riverbank and local small business owner, will be vying alongside five other candidates to represent the 12th Assembly District, a seat presently occupied by Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank.
"Every candidate has reasons for running for public office. My reason is quite simple, because I want to help make things better for my community, for this region and for the State of California," said Madueno. "My decision to run was inspired by residents who want proactive and inclusive leadership."
After three terms, Olsen will term out of the Assembly in 2016 where she currently represents not only her district, but all of the Republicans in the state as the Assembly Minority Leader. Anchored by Modesto, the district includes several towns in both Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.
The district skirts Ceres but includes the area east of Moore Road and Faith Home Road as well as all of Hughson and Keyes and eastern Stanislaus County.
Madueno will be running against local firefighter, farmer, and business owner Heath Flora, Former San Joaquin County Supervisor and lifelong farmer Ken Vogel, Modesto City Council member Bill Zoslocki, Modesto City Schools Board President Cindy Marks, and Turlock Unified School District Trustee Harinder Grewal. Just like her fellow candidates, Madueno wears many hats in the community with leadership, professional, and political roles including serving as a commissioner of the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways.
A native of the Central Valley, Madueno said the key issues she plans to focus on include water, jobs and economic development, education, public safety, and local control. Madueno said investing in local youth to be prepared for educational and work opportunities is a priority. She is also a proponent of expanding the Altamont Corridor Express, or ACE train, into the region to bolster the economy with more travel and tourism spending and said continuing to brand the Valley as a "region that highlights, celebrates and increases our capacity for economic vitality" is part of her vision.
Although Madueno is a registered Democrat, her interest is not to play politics, but to further the Valley, she said.
"I'm not beholden to anyone's agenda. I am simply a champion and believer in the valley and its people. I'm a daughter of immigrants, Valley native, award winning small business owner and my agenda is recognition and prosperity for the valley," said Madueno.
Madueno appeared at a Ceres Chamber of Commerce breakfast on the ACE train last November.