Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez announces bid for Lara’s state Senate seat with his blessing

Long Beach’s 1st District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez announced today that she’s running for District 33 of the California State Senate, a seat vacated by California Insurance Commissioner-Elect Ricardo Lara as he takes on his new role.

The announcement comes with Lara’s endorsement, according to Gonzalez.

“There is no better person to replace me in the state Senate than Lena Gonzalez,” Lara said in a statement provided by Gonzalez’s office. “A dynamic woman in business. A mom with three sons. And a City Council leader … Lena represents the future. As more people in every community meet her, they will appreciate why I am strongly supporting Lena Gonzalez for state Senate.”

Lara’s win over Republican-turned-independent Steve Poizner was expected to shake up the local political scene.

In addition to Gonzalez’s announcement, Councilman Al Austin has expressed interest in taking over his Senate seat. Political observers have also speculated that Councilman Rex Richardson, Councilman Roberto Uranga and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) could make a go of it.

Gonzalez is the first to announce she’s formally filed paperwork for a run.

“I am committed to a new vision for Long Beach and South East Los Angeles,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Tackling climate change, creating more opportunities for affordable housing and unapologetically supporting working families are amongst my top priorities. I look forward to sharing ideas with community members in Senate District 33.”

Gonzalez was elected to the 1st District back in 2014 after serving for then-councilman and current Mayor Robert Garcia in the same office.

Long Beach Post staffers Jason Ruiz, Brian Addison and Jeremiah Dobruck contributed to this report.

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