Robert Rivas to seek state assembly seat

Robert Rivas

San Benito County District 3 Supervisor Robert Rivas said this week he intends to run for California State Assembly District 30.

“I am a lifelong resident of this region and I will work tirelessly to make sure the 30th Assembly District has a strong advocate in Sacramento,” Rivas said.

Rivas, a 38-year old Democrat, was first elected to the San Benito County Board of Supervisors as District 3 representative in June 2010 and reelected in 2014. District 3 encompasses southwest Hollister south of South Street and East to Memorial Drive.

Over his county career, Rivas has advocated for affordable housing, LGBTQ equality, improved roadways, and local higher education. He attended Gavilan College and Sacramento State for undergraduate school and went on to San Jose State University for graduate school. Prior to serving as county supervisor, Rivas worked in staff positions for Assemblymembers Simon Salinas and Anna Caballero. He has also worked as a lecturer at Gavilan College and a paid call firefighter in Hollister.

The supervisor stated his interest in running for state assembly late last year, but didn’t make an official announcement. One is expected next week.

Democrat Anna Caballero is the current state Assembly representative for District 30. Caballero was elected in 2016 when she faced off against fellow Democrat Karina Cervantez Alejo. Caballero will term out this year, leaving her seat open to a potential battle royale.

California’s 30th State Assembly District position represents all of San Benito County, as well as Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Watsonville, Greenfield, Gonzalez, King City, Salinas and Soledad.

“County Supervisor Robert Rivas is a problem solver,” Gonzalez Mayor Maria Orozco said. “He knows our community. I trust him to fight for us in Sacramento and deliver results.”

While the district’s representatives have flip-flopped from Democrat to Republican over the years, voter registration shows a Democratic majority at around 51 percent, Republicans with around 22 percent and nearly 23 percent of district voters with no party preference. Demographics show the district at largely Latino with 66 percent, 25 percent white, 5 percent Asian and 1.8 percent African-American.

Robert Rivas isn’t the only one who’s got a higher office in mind. Former Watsonville City Councilman and Mayor Luis Alejo is considering a run for State Senator Anthony Cannella’s seat. Cannella is set to term out this year.

Alejo, a fellow Democrat who sat in the 30th Assembly seat from 2012 to 2016, announced in September that he was opening an exploratory committee to consider running for California’s 12th State Senate District in 2018. He started the exploratory committee with around $100,000.

While Alejo previously stated he didn’t have plans to run for Senate, he said the threat posed to the community by President Donald Trump caused him to reconsider. He has yet to make an official announcement.

The 12th District includes all of San Benito and Merced Counties, the Salinas Valley, and portions of Fresno, Madera, and Stanislaus Counties. The district represents approximately 1 million residents.