PALM SPRINGS – Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez drove the political pace car as the race for the 28th State Senate District got underway. One of the most powerful and influential voices among Democrats, Perez in January announced his unconditional support for Elizabeth Romero, the only “homegrown” candidate in the race.

He set the pace for others to follow, and follow they are.

Perez minced no words early on when he said the party should get behind one candidate. Romero, a lifelong Democrat, is the one for him, his wife, Gladis, and his two sons, Rubén Pérez, Area 1 Trustee for the Desert Community College District Board of Trustees, and Alejandro Perez.

“If someone has the conviction to run, it’s not up to me to tell them not to,” Perez told Uken Report. “But Elizabeth Romero is the one I am supporting.”

Some of those touting Romero’s qualifications included Perez; Palm Springs Mayor Geoff Kors; Palm Springs City Councilmember Lisa Middleton; Enrique “Rick” Saldivar of Cathedral City, who works at Destiny Church in Cathedral City; and Joe Duffle, president of UFCW Local 1167.

And, the mystery of who Democratic Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D., might endorse is solved: It will be Romero. His name is listed on a pamphlet of supporters Romero distributed at the rally.

She has also has the support of Equality California and Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest, according to a pamphlet Romero distributed.

Others buttressing Romero included Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez; Coachella City Councilmember Meagan Beaman-Jacinto; Local Community Leader James Williamson, Joey Acuna, trustee for the Coachella Valley Unified School District; former Cathedral City Councilmember Shelley Kaplan and his husband, Alan Carvalho; retired attorney and community activist Lynne O’Neill; and dozens of others.

The irony of the location was not lost on those in attendance. The robust show of support, hugs,  and applause took place in Joy Silver’s back yard. Meanwhile, Silver, who was once registered with the Green Party, was simultaneously holding a kickoff campaign in Cathedral City.

In declaring his support for Romero, Kors spoke of her ability to listen to people and hailed her a public servant who reaches out for others’ opinions.

Middleton referred to Romero as a “daughter of the Coachella Valley” who will make life better for everyone.

Supervisor Perez lauded Romero’s achievements, work history and accomplishments in public service saying, “Her knowledge and experience are second to none.”

Romero, whose parents are immigrants and farmworker, has long advocated for Dreamers, a term used for immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, who have lived and gone to school here, and who in many cases identify as American.

Saldivar, who referred to himself as a pastor of the people, said he could not think of a better person to represent the people, adding that he is proud to be part of her team.

Romero currently works for UC Riverside as Assistant Vice Chancellor of Governmental and Community Relations where she helped secure $100 million to grow the School of Medicine.

In the past, she worked for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest advocating for expanded healthcare, women’s reproductive rights, access to birth control and essential education services.

Romero, polished, poised, confident and well-spoken, is running on quality education, access to healthcare, affordable housing, and economic opportunity.

“These problems, as insurmountable as they may seem, they are not (impossible to solve),” Romero said.

Republicans have long laid claim to the 28th State Senate District though Democrats see a window of opportunity to flip the seat once held by Jeff Stone. 

As of Jan. 3, the most recent data available, there are 168,829 registered Democrat in the 28th Senate District and 166,387 Republicans, according to the Registrar of Voters.  There are 110,661 registered voters with No Party Preference.

“It’s going to require work,” Perez said. “We can win this. I am proud and honored to lend my name and my family’s name.”

There are three Democrats seeking the seat: Romero of Indio, Silver of Palm Springs, and Anna Nevenic of Palm Springs. Both Silver and Nevenic challenged former state Sen. Jeff Stone for the seat in 2018. Nevenic lost in the primary election on June 5, 2018. Stone ultimately prevailed over Silver and resigned his seat to start work on Nov. 1 as the Western Regional Director of the United States Department of Labor in the Trump administration.

The two Republicans are Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez of Lake Elsinore and John Schwab of Temecula, a real estate broker/small business owner.

 

 

 

 

Image Sources

  • Elizabeth Romero: Cindy Uken