By The Signal Editorial Board
When we first endorsed Suzette Martinez Valladares two years ago, she was a relative newcomer to the political scene who brought the promise of a new perspective and fresh leadership representing the Santa Clarita Valley in the state Assembly, drawing on her experience in the nonprofit and business sectors.
Two years later, Valladares has delivered on that promise — and then some.
Valladares has emerged as an outspoken and effective advocate for the 38th Assembly District, which has been redrawn and renumbered the 40th Assembly District as a result of redistricting following the 2020 Census. The “new” 40th District still includes almost all of the Santa Clarita Valley, as well as portions of the San Fernando Valley.
In her first two years in office, the Santa Clarita Republican has earned a reputation as an advocate for taxpayers, crime victims and families.
She’s been an outspoken critic of the foot-dragging by the Gov. Gavin Newsom administration on issues like gas prices — Valladares has been out front on this issue, calling for an immediate suspension of the state’s onerous gas tax to give Californians a much-needed break at the pump, at a time when the state is flush with cash.
Looking out for families and children, Valladares co-authored legislation providing access to preschool starting at age 4.
She’s stepped up as an advocate for crime victims, too, authoring a pair of bills intended to “combat the reckless policies of Los Angeles (County) District Attorney George Gascón by breaking down barriers that make it harder for crime victims and their family members to be heard during parole or resentencing hearings,” according to a statement from the assemblywoman’s office.
Assembly Bill 1846 would provide reimbursement for crime victims and their families if they need to hire a private attorney to attend parole hearings on their behalf when the district attorney fails to send a representative.
Valladares’ AB 1847 would prohibit the Board of Parole Hearings from requiring more than 15 days’ minimum notice that a victim, or any member of the victim’s family or their representative, of their intention to attend a parole suitability hearing. The bill also provides crime victims the ability to express their opinion on a petition of resentencing, even if the defense and prosecution both agree to waive the hearing.
AB 1846 has not yet reached the Assembly floor, but AB 1847 has been approved by the Assembly and awaits committee hearings in the Senate.
Valladares is one of the SCV’s own, too. She and her husband live here, raising their daughter in the SCV. Like many Santa Claritans, her first job in her youth was working at Six Flags Magic Mountain. After college, she remained close to home, serving as a district representative for former Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon. In 2012, she left the public sector and became executive director of Southern California Autism Speaks.
After her mother died in 2018, she was asked to assume her mother’s role as an educator and ran Little Steps of Faith, a faith-based nonprofit preschool that provides child care for underserved families.
Her background and life experience give her a healthy mix of business acumen and compassion that often seems to elude legislators on both the left and the right. In Valladares, we have an effective leader who cares about the real-life issues that affect taxpayers, children, families and crime victims.
She has our emphatic endorsement on June 7.