June 2, 2020
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United States Air Force Senior Master Sergeant (E-8) and aerospace engineer Johnathon Ervin has filed to challenge Assemblymember Tom Lackey for the seat representing the 36th Assembly District, which includes parts of northern Santa Clarita Valley.

“I have dedicated my life to serving our country and striving to embody the Air Force’s motto of ‘service before self,'” Ervin said. “Families in our district deserve an Assemblymember whose experience has been battlefield-tested and [who] will fight to ensure that we are expanding access to quality healthcare locally, fighting for clean air, investing in the infrastructure to end the traffic gridlock, increasing our investment in public education and creating local, mortgage-paying jobs.”

Lackey, the incumbent, has served as the 36th District’s Assemblymember since he defeated former Democratic Assemblymember Steve Fox in 2014. However, Ervin believes local progress in areas such as education has not been delivered quickly or effectively enough by the incumbent.

“The last thing Sacramento needs is just another lackey for the special interests and lobbyists,” Ervin said. “We need a leader who can deliver on bringing a four-year public university to our district, because our best and brightest students should not have to leave our community so they can receive a world-class college education or vocational certification.”

A former State Senate candidate and a Democrat, Ervin is looking to flip one of the last Los Angeles County Assembly seats still held by a Republican. Democrats hold the voter registration advantage in the 36th Assembly District with 9 percent more registered Democrats than Republicans — nearly 20,000 voters — a figure that could increase as election accessibility groups ramp up their voter registration efforts closer to the 2020 election.

As part of his campaign to unseat Lackey, Ervin is focusing not only on education, but also on economic justice and healthcare access.

“We need an Assemblymember who will work to create more local mortgage-paying jobs so that a good paycheck does not come with a two-hour commute five days a week,” Ervin said. “[So] that healthcare is a right and we need to do everything in our power to ensure everyone has access to the care they need.”

The 2020 election is still about two years away, but Ervin is eager to jump onto the campaign trail, where he will have the opportunity to discuss issues with local residents.

“We can’t just sit around and wait for these things to magically happen,” Ervin said. “It’s time for swift and decisive action.”

Although Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in the 36th Assembly District, Lackey still holds the various advantages that come with being an incumbent, such as name recognition and the ability to complete constituent casework. Lackey also squandered Fox’s repeated attempts to retake the seat, defeating the former Assemblymember by 6.18 percent in 2016 and 4.2 percent in 2018.

Still, Ervin remains hopeful and motivated as he begins his campaign.

“It will not be an easy path to victory, but nothing has been easy for us,” Ervin said. “If the voters of the 36th District elect me, I will work relentlessly for [them] and I will fight like hell to make sure we get what is ours.”

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Johnathon Ervin files to challenge Assemblymember Tom Lackey
Article Name
Johnathon Ervin files to challenge Assemblymember Tom Lackey
Johnathon Ervin is challenging Assemblymember Tom Lackey for his seat representing Assembly District 36, which includes northern Santa Clarita Valley.
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The Santa Clarita Valley Proclaimer
Mai Nguyen Do

Mai Nguyen Do is a Vietnamese American poet and researcher. She is a lifelong Santa Clarita resident and a College of the Canyons graduate. She is also the author of Ghosts Still Walking (2016) and Battlefield Blooming (2019). Find her on Twitter @DoNguyenMai.

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