Assembly Speaker Perez to run for controller

Assembly Speaker John Pérez formally announced Wednesday that he’ll run for state controller next year.

John PerezPérez, D-Los Angeles, said “California has made great strides in its path to recovery, but our work is far from complete.

“I’m running for Controller to ensure our government reflects the values of the people of California and increases prosperity, by managing our finances smartly, efficiently and effectively,” he said.

Current state Controller John Chiang will be term-limited out in 2014. Pérez’s decision to seek the seat must’ve been made easier by state Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s announcement in June that he won’t seek it; with $2.2 million already banked for such a campaign, Lockyer – who has won four statewide elections before – would’ve been a presumptive favorite.

But Pérez, D-Los Angeles, joins a crowded Democratic field nonetheless. Those with active campaign committees for this office include former Assemblyman Dario Frommer of La Canada Flintridge, who had $675,000 banked as of June 30; Board of Equalization member Betty Yee of Alameda, who had about $472,000 at midyear; and state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, whose Capitol office was raided by the FBI in June but had about $26,000 in the bank for this race.

Pérez noted that when he first joined the Assembly, California’s budget deficit was more than $60 billion, over half the state budget for the year. “Fiscal restraint has been crucial to putting our finances back in the black, and will remain vital to ensuring a prosperous future for our state,” he said.

“Balancing our books is essential, but this job is about even more,” he said of the controller’s office. “It’s about promoting the financial stability that can offer every Californian the opportunity to succeed and contribute to our state’s prosperity. I will continue to advance smart investment decisions that help businesses, create jobs and unleash California’s full potential.”

Pérez has been Assembly Speaker since 2010, and in announcing his candidacy Wednesday he touted the balanced, on-time budgets passed in the past three years – the first time California has had such a run in 30 years. He also pointed to enactment of his bill to create GoBiz, a program to improve the state’s efforts to attract new businesses and investments in California.

And Pérez said the Assembly under his leadership has boosted the state’s minimum wage to $10 per hour; enacted his bill to create middle-class higher-education scholarships; and expanded access to health care with implementation of the new national health insurance law.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • JohnW

    Stellar lineup of candidates to be trusted as the state’s chief accounting officer and chief auditor. A labor leader who lied about graduating from UC Berkeley. A former legislator whose office was raided by the FBI. A law firm parter. Only Yee comes close to being qualfied. None could get a job as a controller in even a small company. At lest John Chiang has some credentials.

  • SLtalk

    If democracy works as it’s supposed to, Betty Yee will get the job. I’ve heard her speak on budget/financial issues several times, and she seems to understand them very well. I took a peek at her resume online and she seems to have substantial experience, beyond her membership in the Board of Equalization. For example, she was chief deputy budget director for the state finance department.