Long Beach’s deadline for candidates to declare for political races this year is less than two months away, and more names are being added to the list of those seeking elected office in 2022.
Races for Long Beach’s 3rd and 9th City Council Districts, LBUSD Board of Education and the city’s new Assembly seat all had candidates enter the race as of Friday. The deadline to file for city races is March 11.
Long Beach Board of Education
Sharifa Batts, who works as the environment, health and safety director for Ports America and oversees safety operations at the Port of Los Angeles, is running for the open Area 1 seat for the Long Beach Unified School District.
Batts has been involved with the district as a parent of two children who graduated from Long Beach Poly and has served as a PTA president.
Batts said her work in addressing racial inequality in the workplace could translate to the district, which has had issues in addressing equity issues for its students, many of whom are from underserved areas and qualify for aid.
“I want to ensure that the work of the district to promote equity and fairness continues for all students,” Batts said in a statement.
She joins two other candidates, Nubia Flores and Maricela de Rivera, who announced their runs after current Area 1 Board Member Megan Kerr opted to run for a City Council seat.
9th City Council District
The city’s 9th City Council district now has three candidates, with Realtor Raul Nario and Army veteran Gus Orozco entering the race to replace Rex Richardson, who is running for mayor.
Orozco, who serves as the chair of the city’s Veterans Commission and president of the Long Beach Veterdans Day Committee, has been active with neighborhood associations in the city and has done nonprofit work with struggling students in Long Beach.
Nario made no formal announcement but is listed on the City Clerk’s site after filing an intent to run last week. They both are joining Joni Ricks-Oddie, who announced her run last week.
The newly drawn 9th City Council district has the highest Latino citizen voting-age population in the city at 49.7%.
3rd City Council District
The city’s 3rd City Council district, which also lost its representative to the mayor’s race, has its first candidate filed with City Clerk since Councilwoman Suzie Price said she was running for the city’s top elected position.
Kristina Duggan, who worked as Price’s field deputy during her first term that started in 2014, is now running to replace her.
Janet Foster, a member of the Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee and Long Beach resident for the past 18 years, is running for Long Beach’s new 69th Assembly District.
Foster’s professional background is in healthcare industry and has also hosted a weekly political and news podcast. In her announcement, Foster said that climate change, common sense police reform and equitable funding for schools would be priorities for her if she was elected to represent the district.
The district includes most of Long Beach, Signal Hill, Catalina and parts of Carson. Foster joins Josh Lowenthal and 8th District Councilman Al Austin, both of whom declared their candidacies after four-term Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell said he was retiring last week.
Foster said she’s running to be a vocal voice in Sacramento that will fight to work on issues like homelessness, housing inflation, and single-payer healthcare.
The June primary election is scheduled for June 7 with runoff races to be decided Nov. 8.
Editors note: The original version of this story said that Gus Orozco was the president of the Veterans Commission, he’s the president of the Long Beach Veterans Day Commitee. The story has been updated.