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 By Miriam Raftery

June 5, 2012 (San Diego)--With 98.4% of precincts counted, the clear winners in the 79th Assembly District race are Democrat Shirley Weber (30.00%) and Republican Mary England (29.67%).

If elected in the November run-off, Weber would become San Diego county's first African-American woman to serve in the Legislature.   England, however, hopes to score an upset win to take back the ethnically diverse district from Democrats in November. 

For Weber, the daughter of sharecroppers, it's been a long journey. “As a poor kid coming out of the projects, I was able to be successful because of the excellent public education I received in California," Weber, past president of the San Diego Unified School District Board, has said. "As an Assembly member, I will fight to make sure the next little Shirley Weber has that same opportunity.”

Weber, a professor at San Diego State University, issued a victory statement outlining her plan to get the economy back on track.    "The problem is that our economy isn't creating enough high-wage jobs--jobs that help people buy houses, send their kids to school and provide for a decent retirement," she said. "The solution is to start doing the basic things we know frome xperience work to create good jobs--fundamentals like keeping our kids in school, sending more kids to college, making sure college is affordable and making the basinc investments we need to grow a strong economy, like good roads, better transit and safer communities."

England said that she is "elated" about her lead over three other competitors in the 79th district, clinching a spot in the run-off. To be in  a near-tie for first place in a heavily Democratic district means that "voters heard my message," England told ECM. 

President of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce and member of the Lemon Grove Council, she aims to use her "real world experience" to tackle the state's fiscal problems in Sacramento. "My priorities will be to encourage private sector job growth, balance the state budget without raising taxes and reform of the state’s public pension system," she has pledged.

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