Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine announced today he will run for Assembly District 11 as an independent candidate.
That pits him against Oakley Mayor Jim Frazier, who has been busy locking up most of the major Democratic endorsements. Also running is Democrat Patricia Hernandez of Rio Vista, an attorney for Union of American Physicians and Dentists.
The new 11th District is a particularly attractive seat because it has no incumbent and could easily see a big field of candidates vying for one of those top two finisher spots in the open June primary.
The newly drawn district encompasses eastern Contra Costa and much of Solano County. See the map here at Redistricting Partners’ web site.
Here’s Augustine’s announcement:
Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine has announced his intention to run for the newly created 11th State Assembly District seat, covering most of Northern Solano and Eastern Contra Costa counties. The seat, which lacks an incumbent, was created by the California State Redistricting Commission in late July.
What makes the announcement somewhat out of the ordinary is that Augustine, who served on the Vacaville City Council from 1996 until his retirement in December 2010, is running as a nonpartisan candidate.
“After 14 years in local government, I learned that we accomplished a great deal more if we weren’t concerned if the person sitting next to us was a Republican or a Democrat. Our focus was always about what’s in the best interest of our community. When I look at what’s happening to our once Golden State, I have to think applying some local government rules couldn’t hurt us.”
Len makes his agenda very clear – getting Californians back to work, strengthening education and correcting the long-broken system of fiscal mismanagement that has left California with a new $13 Billion deficit for the year.
After 14 years on the City Council – eight of them as the Mayor – Len developed an expertise in local and regional government, serving on a wide array of diverse commissions on major policy issues. Len has served as Chairman of the Solano Transportation Authority, Solano County Water Agency, Solano County Mayors Committee and Travis Regional Armed Forces Committee. He has also served in executive positions with the League of California Cities, Association of Bay Area Governments, Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority and most recently on the Board of Directors of the Travis Credit Union.
Among his credits over the years, Len successfully wrote and got the City Council to approve a Strategic Plan for the City of Vacaville, led the charge to move up the schedule for I-80 improvements by two years, initiated the Town Square concept in Vacaville that has revived the downtown area and become a model for others, developed job growth efforts through economic vitality and economic recruitment programs, and chaired the successful bond effort for local schools.
Len’s early supporters include a wide range of Republicans, Democrats and nonpartisan elected officials including Solano County Supervisors Jim Spering, Mike Reagan and John Vasquez, Vacaville Mayor Steve Hardy, Fairfield Mayor Harry Price, former City Treasurer Garland Porter and former Independent State Senator Quentin Kopp and dozens of others.
A native of the Pennsylvania coal mining country, Len lost his father when he was just eight years old. His mother worked two jobs to ensure young Len would have the opportunity to succeed and serve – and he did. After graduating from Lehigh University with a degree in Engineering, Len went on to a distinguished career in the United States Air Force, commanding the 89th Military Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force – best known for its role operating and maintaining the Air Force One fleet. Colonel Augustine retired as a command pilot with more than 5,000 hours, including 700 combat hours.
Len and his wife, Sue, a retired library assistant, have two sons and two grandchildren.
Len on the Issues:
“For years we’ve ignored manufacturing jobs that have been a mainstay of our economy. We must create incentives for manufacturers to stay, reinvest in trade schools and partner with the trades to ensure that we’re creating both opportunity and revenue.”
“As for education, we struggle under bureaucracy, but I’d like to see us empower the classroom teacher and reward them accordingly. My lifetime in the military and local government has taught me that you achieve more accountability the closer you are to the problem. In Vacaville, we led the community effort to invest in our schools, the administrators responded and the result was improved test scores and sound financial management.”
“California’s single biggest challenge outside struggling families is the crushing debt. In the long-term, the only cure is changing our bad habits. As an Assemblyman, one of my first acts will be to support legislation requiring California to adopt a two-year budget process to make state government more transparent and accountable. Each department will be forced to justify every penny it needs during every budget we adopt. There will be rewards for saving money – not penalties for failing to spend everything, as exists today. In a two-year budget we will be able to better plan for the long-term.”
“We know the reason for California’s long-term financial problems is the inability to resist creating new programs when times are good. As an Assemblyman, I’ll advocate for fiscal responsibility – we won’t create new programs just because we have the money, we will only create them based on need. We must focus on paying down our debt and saving for the inevitable rainy days.”