New names join those chasing City Council 2020 seats

Santa Clarita City Hall is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. File Photo

A handful of candidates have recently announced interest in running for the two Santa Clarita City Council seats on the ballot in November. 

The seats held by Mayor Cameron Smyth and longtime Councilman Bob Kellar are up for election. In July, Kellar confirmed that after serving the city for more than 19 years, he will not run again, while Smyth has indicated his intention is to run again.  

So far, the race includes contenders returning from previous elections and others entering a local race for the first time, including former senior congressional district representative Jonathan Ahmadi and local doctor Aakash Ahuja. 

Ahmadi, who announced his run at a kick-off event on Saturday, said Monday that he stepped down Friday from his role as a constituent services representative for the 25th Congressional District following former Rep. Katie Hill’s sudden resignation, and is shaping his campaign around addressing homelessness, affordable housing and job creation. 

“These top-three issues are ones that we will need to come together to be able to solve them all; we will need participation from all,” he said. 

Ahuja, a local practicing psychiatrist, said Monday that Santa Clarita “is a good city, but it has the potential to become the best in the country,” and that he’s running to bring “smart leadership to achieve just that.” 

Among the issues he will highlight include improving child safety, more mental health access, making Santa Clarita a drug-free city and reducing traffic congestion. He plans to officially announce the launch of his campaign on Jan. 20, he added.  

Now on an eighth attempt, returning candidate Ken Dean said that he will try to earn a spot in the City Council with one issue at the top of his list that he has consistently highlighted over the years: reducing traffic congestion. 

“It’s one of the biggest problems we have here, and I’m going to continue to get involved in this,” he said Tuesday, adding that he would also like to help Santa Clarita become a vape-free city. “Something needs to be passed to outlaw it in our city. It’s a killer.” 

All three are joined by two others who announced their run for City Council earlier last year: Chris Werthe, who ran for a William S. Hart Union High School District seat in 2018, and Jason Gibbs, who earned support from Kellar and ran in the 2018 City Council election.  

The filing period for those interested in running opens on July 13 and closes Aug. 7, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. 

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