Nov 24, 2009 6:11 PM by Ariel Wesler
Today in Los Angeles, Governor Schwarzenneger officially nominated state senator Abel Maldenado to serve as the next lieutenant governor of California. Maldonado grew up in Santa Maria, the son of a immigrants and says he has fulfilled the American dream. Nevertheless, the 42 year old vowed never to forget his hometown roots.
At a press conference today in Los Angeles, Maldonado said, "Thirty five years ago, my friends, I stood in the fields of Santa Maria, California picking strawberries next to my mom and my dad, teaching me the value of hard work and respect." He continued, "I'm standing here today accepting the nomination from Governor Schwarzenegger as California's next lietutenant governor. Only in America can that happen."
Maldonado served on the Santa Maria city council from 1994 to1996. He then led the city as it's youngest and first Hispanic mayor until 1998.
Schwarzenneger praised Maldonado for his willingness to cross party lines. "He always chooses the people of California over politics," he said.
In February, Maldonado drew criticism from his own party by voting for a budget that included tax hikes. Some fellow republicans and democrats spoke out against the governor's decision to nominate Maldonado. "It is difficult to see how a candidate who has voted for a massive tax incrase could possbily win a statewide Republican primary," said California Senator Jeff Dunham.
If Maldonado is confirmed, it would trigger a special election to replace him in the state Senate. "I have grave doubts about filling his position," said state senate leader Darrell Steinberg. "According to state elections officials, such an election would cost taxpayers more than $2 million."
The state assembly and senate have 90 days to confirm the nomination. If confirmed, Maldonado would be the first Latino Republican to hold statewide office since 1875.
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