Signal file photo of the state's Capitol building in Sacramento

UPDATE: Attorneys declare candidacy for state Senate

Two local attorneys have declared their candidacies for the state Senate 21st District seat, which is currently represented by Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita.

Workers’ rights attorney and Democrat Kipp Mueller announced his candidacy Tuesday via news release, while immigration attorney and fellow Democrat Warren Heaton launched a website announcing his intention to challenge Wilk earlier this month.

The 21st Senate District seat represents an area that stretches from Santa Clarita to Victorville and has been held by Wilk since 2016.

Mueller

“We can no longer wait for different results from the same politicians,” said Mueller.  “And unfortunately, too many state legislators are working for special interests and not for the working and middle classes. I think we need to have a return to politics where we’re focused on a strong working class, strong middle class and we’re lifting up those who need help.”

These are all reasons why Mueller said he will focus on working to create high-wage jobs, access to affordable health care and housing, and finding a path to ending homelessness, if elected.

“I grew up in a working-class community at a time when it was possible to provide for your family without worrying about the first of the month,” Mueller said Tuesday, adding, “I’ve been watching a country that has had virtually stagnant wages for decades while the rest of life has gotten more expensive, whether it’s health care, housing or other life expenses … but that’s got to change.” 

Mueller said he hopes the voters empower him to bring people back to the community by speaking out on what’s important to them. 

“We want an inclusive campaign,” Mueller said, stating he intends to hold community events and informal gatherings to give residents the opportunity to do so. 

“Like I said before, this campaign is about rebuilding the working class in California and the question is what does a 21st-century working class look like,” Mueller said, mentioning his experience representing workers and fighting corporations. “I want to make sure the priority of the Legislature is always geared towards the people and not special interests…

“I’m optimistic about this opportunity because with the emerging gig economy and the questions around climate change, we’re at a very pivotal point at a lot of issues in regards to what California looks like,” Mueller said. “So, I’m excited about this and my focus for the next year and a half will be talking and meeting with voters of the community.” 

Heaton

Warren Heaton is an immigration attorney whose practice focuses on refugee and asylum cases, according to a prepared statement sent Tuesday. He also works as an adjunct history professor at College of the Canyons, serves as the chief negotiator for the American Federation of Teachers local 6262 and is a U.S. Army veteran, who served as an interrogator and Russian translator. 

Heaton also said in his statement Tuesday that he believes health care is a right, not a privilege, and he hopes to tackle the housing shortage, which he believes has reached crisis levels.

“I support programs to build more affordable housing,” Heaton said. “New communities will require new infrastructure,” which is why he supports dramatic expansions in public transportation, as well as increased funding to repair and replace existing infrastructure.

Heaton added he would also focus on the state’s educational system.

“A 21st century workforce requires a world-class educational system,” Heaton said, adding he supports increased funding for K-12 education, as well as investments in higher education that would lower student loan debt and increase the number of full-time faculty.

“I decided to run for state Senate because I believe that I can help shape policy that will improve the lives of Californians,” Heaton said. “For many years, my wife and I have worked in public service, (and) through this work, I developed a deep understanding of how state policy can have an immediate impact on people’s lives … I believe my experience and education have uniquely prepared me for this role.”

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