LOS ANGELES - Former state senator Sheila Kuehl formally announced on Thursday plans to run for long-time Los Angeles County supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s position.
Yaroslavsky, 64, a powerhouse in Los Angeles politics, will be termed out of his position at year-end 2014.
The election to fill his seat will be held in June 2014.
Kuehl is the first to announce plans to run for his seat.
A long-time fixture in Los Angeles politics – he began his career in 1975 when he was elected at the age of 27 to the Los Angeles City Council – his absence represents part of the changing of the guard occurring in the city.
The Los Angeles City Council is also losing several long-time council members this year, also because of term limits.
Yaroslavsky served on the city council until 1994 when he was elected to the county Board of Supervisors. He was re-elected four times, most recently in 2010. Considered a potential favorite, Yaroslavsky decided not to run for Los Angeles mayor.
“This is going to be a campaign of ideas,” Kuehl said, “combining innovation and experience, collaboration and leadership, continued attention to county stability as well as new approaches in some key areas, such as child welfare, healthcare, expanded transportation and environmental protection.”
Kuehl was the first woman in California history to be named speaker pro tempore of the Assembly and the first openly gay or lesbian person elected to the California Legislature.
If elected, Kuehl will take the helm as county finances take an upswing after years of austerity brought on by the economic downturn.
Just last week, Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka presented a $24.7 billion spending plan for board of county supervisor’s approval, that for the first time in five years, had no deficit and no proposed cuts.
His announcement marked a turn-around from the budget proposed three years ago that had a $490 million deficit forcing county departments to slash spending by more than 30%.
Unlike City of Los Angeles workers, whose raises have been blamed for the city’s dire finances, county workers haven’t received a cost-of-living raise in five years.
The unions agreed to the arrangement so long as the money would begin to flow once the county’s finances were back on track, Fujioka said.
Union leaders are wasting no time holding the county to its word; Fujioka said his office already has begun negotiating with public safety unions.