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Sullivan tells GMSP! of her quest for Assembly seat

January 21, 2000
Santa Paula News
Santa Paula City Councilwoman Robin Sullivan noted she’s “not a morning person” but making the 7 a.m. Good Morning Santa Paula! meeting to talk of her run for the State Assembly was well worth getting up early. Sullivan was the featured speaker at the Chamber of Commerce sponsored event held on Jan. 11 at Logsdon’s at the Santa Paula Airport.Sullivan said her bid for the 35th Assembly District is “just as much as a surprise to me as to you,” but she found herself being politically courted to run in the wide-ranging district.The 35th covers Santa Paula, Ventura, Ojai, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Buellton and a portion of Lompoc, she noted. Driving the 35th has convinced her that it is “probably the most district in California offering everything from Solvang Danish cookies to the seaside. . .it’s an honor to run.”Sullivan’s quest for higher office started when she was contacted by SENECA, a Republican womens’ political action group. “I thought they wanted a donation but that’s not what they were seeking, they were seeking me,” as a candidate, she noted. “I decided to keep an open mind; I’d never considered running for a higher office, I didn’t even seek the council but was asked to run. I decided to ask my family their thoughts, I figured they would straighten me out!”Her family was supportive, including husband John, also an attorney, who Sullivan said she believes has an “ulterior motive. . .fast food,” he could indulge in while she was in Sacramento.After the call from SENECA, Sullivan heard several times from Brooks Firestone, a former state representative of the area that Sullivan explained had been represented for years by Democrat Jack O’Connell, now a State Senator.
That contact opened a floodgate of calls from state and county Republican powers, she added, as she “talked to a lot of people as I tried to make a final decision.”Now, she’s in and said she believes her tenure in local government - Sullivan is the former Mayor and has served on the City Council for seven years - will serve the district constituents well in Sacramento. “This isn’t an ego trip and I thought hard about the job and how it could help people at the lower level like you,” she noted. “I believe it’s hard to run for such an office without first serving at a local level. . .with the council, you come to us directly, we’re the closest. As a council member I go to the store for one item and spend two hours talking to people about their concerns. The council has handled soup to nuts projects, we’ve worked with government agencies and local groups; I’m not someone from a special interest group who wants a state office.”Sullivan said more local input is needed in Sacramento as well as regaining control at a local level, “home rule. . .the state has imposed mandates that are unfunded by them,” presenting financial hardships, such as recycling and the hefty daily fee cities face if they don’t meet the numbers. It will cost Santa Paula $1.2 million for equipment just to start-up the recycling program, she added, and “you all ultimately will pay for it.”Over the years the state has taken away money from cities “little by little,” from property and sale taxes to vehicle taxes, taking “your money and giving it to statewide programs. . .it’s been devastating to Santa Paula and other communities; there’s a state surplus that we’ll fight to get back.”Sullivan noted that term limits “created infill from local governments” to higher offices, and “I’m not going to leave Santa Paula, I just want to help at a higher level, hopefully, just switch positions.”