By Edwin Folven, 1/24/2013
Former legislator to run for county supervisor in 2014
Former State Senator and Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl has thrown her hat in the ring to replace Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, 3rd District, when he is termed out of office in 2014.
Kuehl, a Santa Monica resident, became the first openly gay legislator elected to the State Assembly in 1994, and served three terms. She was the Assembly’s speaker pro-tempore during the 1997-98 session, and was a founding member of the Assembly’s LGBT Caucus.
Kuehl represented the local area in the 23rd State Senate District from 2000 to 2008. Fans of classic television may also remember Kuehl for her childhood role as Zelda Gilroy on program, “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis”.
Since leaving office because of term limits, the former state legislator has started her own political consulting business and is the founding director of the Public Policy Institute at Santa Monica College. She said the next step is to return to serving a district she loves and has called home for decades.
“Truthfully, I have been thinking about it for years,” Kuehl said. “There is nothing that allows you to use the experience you have gained in fourteen years in the Legislature more than serving in public office.”
The 3rd County Supervisorial District, which Yarsoslavsky has represented since 1994, includes many of the areas previously represented by Kuehl. In the local area, it includes Hollywood and West Hollywood, the Fairfax District, Miracle Mile and Hancock Park.
Kuehl said she hopes to work on several issues of importance to the local area as county supervisor, such as enhancing public transportation, creating jobs and improving the economy.
“Zev and I worked together to secure a lot of area in the Santa Monica Mountains,” Kuehl said. “But one of my main concerns is health and human services. [It’s something] you have to think about with the realignment of services for the state and the county under the Affordable Care Act. It’s a major part of what we do.”
Kuehl said she will work to ensure residents of the 3rd District have access to the health services they need, and she also hopes to address problems in the foster care system. She added that she is also excited about the future of transportation in the area, but was hesitant to weigh in on the subway.
“I continue to support public transportation and rapid transportation, all the way out to the west,” she said. “What the end piece will look like, I don’t know. I’m busy waiting for the Expo Line to be finished.”
Other issues of importance to Kuehl are LGBT rights and support for small business. With four of the five current supervisors scheduled to be termed out by 2016, Kuehl said it will be important to have strong leaders on the board of supervisors.
“I think it is a good time to have people with a lot of experience in the areas where the county is going to face challenges to step up to the plate,” she said.
Joel Bellman, a spokesman for Yaroslavsky, said the supervisor has not announced whether he will endorse Kuehl. Bellman said, however, that Yaroslavsky has worked closely with Kuehl when she was in the Legislature.
“She certainly has always been seen as a friend to the office,” Bellman said.
In addition to Kuehl, the only other candidate who has expressed interest in the 3rd District Supervisorial seat is former Santa Monica councilman Bobby Shriver, but he has not formally committed, according to media reports.
Tags | Sheila Kuehl