I have known Ben Allen since he worked for The Observer in 1998 gathering subscriptions. Since then, he's gone on to Berkeley Law School, and the SMMUSD Board. I caught up with the Candidate for Ted Lieu's vacant State Senate Seat today. He has gathered some major endorsements, raised over $250,000, and appears to be the leading candidate for the seat that stretches South from Santa Monica to Manhattan Beach. I asked him the following questions.
Why are you running for State Senate?
I've been on the School Board for the past 6 years, two years before that on the University of California's Board of Regents, and I teach education law and policy at UCLA Law School. Needless to say, I've been thinking about, teaching, writing about, and working on state issues for a long time. When this vacancy opened up and Senator Fran Pavley and LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said they would get behind me, I was excited about taking on this opportunity to serve this community that I love on another level.
It's been exhausting but fun--I've really enjoyed getting out there and talking to people, learning about a new set of issues. This campaign is very personal for me--I grew up in this community, my family is here, the streets, schools, stores, and parks of this area have personal resonance with me that goes back deeply into my childhood. Needless to say, I'm really anxious to preserve our quality of life here.
I'm proud to have received the support of most of the elected officials in Santa Monica and growing list of leaders from all over the district, including respected regional leaders such as Zev Yaroslavsky and Fran Pavley. I'm happy at the pace at which I've been able to raise money, and I think I can bring a strong message to this very large district.
How are you Qualified for State Senate?
I'd say that I have a combination of deep roots in the district, lots of energy and ideas, mixed in with a good amount of relevant experience...