By Miriam Raftery
Photo via Governor's Twitter feed: Sec. of State Shirley Weber is sworn in by Gov. Gavin Newsom
February 8, 2021 (San Diego) – Former Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, PhD, made history last week when she was sworn in as the first black woman to serve as California's Secretary of State. A special election to fill the 79th Assembly District seat will be held April 6, with several candidates in the running.
“I am excited to be nominated for this historical appointment as the Secretary of State of California. I thank @CAgovernor for the confidence in me. Being the first Black Woman in this position will be monumental and I am up for the challenge,” Weber posted on Twitter.
Governor Gavin Newsom stated that Secretary Weber, “will be at the helm of CA’s elections, defending & expanding the right to vote for all Californians.”
The deadline for candidates to file to run in the special election is Feb. 11, this Thursday. Since several candidates have filed so far, this will be a primary; a run-off between the top-two vote-getters will be held in June, according to Antonia Hutzell at the Registrar of Voters office.
Check this page for an update on candidates filing to run: https://www.sdvote.com/content/dam/rov/en/filing-info/Candidate_List.pdf
Secretary Weber has endorsed her daughter, Dr. Akilah Weber, to fill her Assembly seat. Akilah Weber has received the San Diego County Democratic Party endorsement, with over 97% of the vote.
Akilah Weber, a Democrat, is a La Mesa City Council member and medical doctor at Rady Children’s hospital, where she founded the pediatric and adolescent gynecology division and UC San Diego Health. She is also an educator, serving as an assistant clinical professor at UCSD.
In La Mesa, she has worked to create a task force on homelessness and a police oversight board, as well as working to implement a climate action plan and efforts to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Akilah Weber’s endorsements include Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis, labor leader Dolores Huerta and Calif. Treasurer Fiona Ma.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on many of the disparities that exist in our society, including access to good healthcare, equal educational opportunities, continuing racial injustices and economic disparities. I am running to continue the fight to truly eliminate these disparities and improve the health of our families, the health of our community, and the health of our democracy,” Akilah Weber says on her website.
Leticia Munguia a labor leader and Democrat, has also announced plans to run. Her Facebook page states that she has served on the district council 36 at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and is former field director at the Calif. School Employees Association. She lives in Chula Vista and holds a B.S. degree in Criminal justice Administration at San Diego State University. She also studied at the Thomas Cooley Law School. Her Facebook page does not let list issue positions or a website address.(Photo, left: Leticia Munguia)
Marco Contreras, a Republican, has setu pu a website and announced plans to run, but has not yet filed his candidate papers. is a first-generation immigrant and USD graduate. A former football player with a degree in economics, he owns a customs brokerage business. He says he wants to be a voice standing for safe cities, fiscal responsibility, and putting education first, according to his website. (Photo, right: Marco Contreras)
“I’m running to serve our community by fighting to protect our rights and freedom to pursue life, liberty, and happiness,” he states on his website. His endorsements include Republican Central Committee member Dan Bickford.
John Moore, also a Republican, has filed papers to run. He is listed as a retired businessman and broker.
Shane Parmely, a teacher and organizer, is a Democrat who has also filed nomination papers.
Some other prominent politicians have announced decisions not to seek the 79th Assembly seat, including former Congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar and former San Diego City Council president Georgette Gomez, also a past Congressional candidate.