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Senate primaries a preview for November

Candidates seeking local votes are profiled ahead of next week’s election

Posted: May 29, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 29, 2012 1:55 a.m.
From left, Fran Pavley, Steve Knight, Star Moffatt and Todd Zink From left, Fran Pavley, Steve Knight, Star Moffatt and Todd Zink
From left, Fran Pavley, Steve Knight, Star Moffatt and Todd Zink

21st State Senate District Profiles
Editor’s note: The redrawn California 21st Senate District takes in a little less of the Santa Clarita Valley than did its predecessor, the 17th. It and the 27th Senate District split the Santa Clarita Valley. The 21st, as the 17th before it, is dominated by the High Desert but now includes Victorville and some other San Bernardino County communities, as well as Palmdale and Lancaster in Los Angeles County. The district extends westward to the Ventura County line and dips southward to take in some areas around Castaic and the city of Santa Clarita. Two candidates are seeking the 21st District seat — one Republican and one Democrat. The top two vote-getters will appear on the November ballot.

Steve Knight

Star Moffatt

27th State Senate District Profiles
Editor’s note:
Some residents of the Santa Clarita Valley’s West Side may be surprised to find their former state senator, Tony Strickland, off their ballots and two strangers vying for their Senate district. Redistricting cast the western SCV into a newly drawn 27th Senate District that takes in Castaic, Stevenson Ranch, West Ranch and parts of the city of Santa Clarita, combining them with the western San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, Moorpark and Thousand Oaks south to Malibu. Strickland is seeking a congressional seat that does not encompass the SCV. Two candidates are seeking the 27th District seat — one Republican and one Democrat. The top two vote-getters will appear on the November ballot.

Fran Pavley

Todd Zink

21st State Senate District: Steve Knight

Assemblyman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, is running where the Runners left off.

Knight, with the endorsement of both former state Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, and outgoing Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, is running in the 21st Senate District race.

The newly drawn 21st Senate District takes in the eastern Santa Clarita Valley, as did the 17th Senate District from which Sharon Runner is stepping down.

In March, Knight said he would have supported Runner in the race for the 21st if she had sought re-election.

"We're going to run things the way she ran them," he said of his current candidacy. "We believe, for instance, that government is not the answer to everything."

Knight has enjoyed a long relationship with the Runners, succeeded Sharon Runner to the Assembly in November 2008 with the couple's endorsement.

The son of noted test pilot, astronaut and politician William J. "Pete" Knight, Steve Knight was born at Edwards Air Force Base and has called the Antelope Valley home almost his entire life.

After graduating from Palmdale High School, Knight served in the U.S. Army stationed in Friedberg, Germany.

He was an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department for 18 years, part of that time with the department's Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums, or CRASH, team.

He currently serves on Assembly committees on local government, utilities and commerce, natural resources, public safety and rules.

"I know Santa Clarita very well," he told The Signal on Thursday. "It's a very good fit for me."

Father of two sons Christopher and Michael, Knight lives in the Antelope Valley with his wife, Lily.


21st State Senate District: Star Moffatt

Endorsed by the California Democratic Party for State Senate, District 21, as well as the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and the Democratic Club of the Santa Clarita Valley, Moffatt faces the June 5 primary with the full support of Democratic Party affiliates.

"One of my core issues based on what I'm hearing is the public educational system - that is a big issue," she told The Signal in a sit-down interview earlier this month.

Moffatt was born in Virginia into an armed services community.

She served in the Army for six years and represents the third generation in her family serving in the United States military.

Moffatt completed one year of law school and started down a path of helping others.

She set up a nonprofit organization to help women, called Miracle Star Women's Recovery Community Inc. She said it was designed to give women a chance at recovery and to gain "a place back in society and know that there was still a place for them in society."

The center later expanded to also assist men.

In April 1998, Moffatt was recognized by both 36th District California State Assembly member George Runner and former Palmdale Mayor James Ledford for her contributions as a "Soroptomist Woman helping Women."


27th State Senate District: Fran Pavley

Redrawn districts following the 2010 Census mean the name of Fran Pavley, the current 23rd Senate District representative, appears on the June ballot for the 27th Senate District as the incumbent.

Pavley, a Democrat elected to a district that takes in Agoura Hills to West Los Angeles, is a staunch environmentalist who also champions education and lists "educator" on the ballot as a career.

Western portions of the Santa Clarita Valley now fall into the 27th District, and voters will make a choice between Pavley and Republican Todd Zink.

Pavley has made at least one appearance in the Santa Clarita Valley when she was invited to speak earlier this month at College of the Canyons to the American Federation of Teachers Local 6262.

Topping the list of the senator's concerns were the economy, education, water, transportation, energy and the environment.

Born in Los Angeles on Nov. 11, 1948, Pavley grew up in Sherman Oaks, working and living as a parent and a educator in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

A mother of two, she lives in Agoura Hills with her husband, Andy, and family.

Elected to the California Senate in 2008, Pavley currently serves as chairwoman of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. She also serves as a member of the Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee.

She was instrumental in the successful acquisition of Ahmanson Ranch in Eastern Ventura County and King Gillette Ranch in Los Angeles County.

She also helped the city of Malibu acquire and develop Legacy Park and Bluffs Park.


27th State Senate District: Todd Zink

Todd Zink is the Republican answer to incumbent Fran Pavley in the Senate district that now includes much of the Santa Clarita Valley's West Side.

His life reflects his conservative values beginning with Eagle Scout and a scholarship in the Naval ROTC program at the University of Southern California.

Today, going into the June 5 primary for the 27th Senate District seat, Zink points to his record as a husband, father, decorated Marine Corps officer and deputy district attorney.

When asked Thursday if he feels comfortable being described as the picture of conservatism, he said: "I definitely fit that mold."

He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He became an infantry officer and a graduate of Ranger, Combat Dive and Airborne schools.

Shortly after that, according to his website profile, he served in Somalia to help restore order.

Upon his return from service, Zink worked in Encino and took classes at night to earn his law degree.

But a few months after 9/11, his Marine Reserve company from Naval Base Ventura County was activated as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and became part of the only reserve infantry battalion to take part in the march to Baghdad to oust Saddam Hussein.

During that operation, Zink, then a lieutenant colonel, orchestrated close air support missions in the push to Baghdad.

Zink's wife, Christon, is a Vietnamese immigrant whose father fought along side American forces against the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong. They live in Westlake Village with sons Hunter, 7, and Connor, 5.



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