Sacramento Councilwoman Angelique Ashby thinks her experience at City Hall the past five years – and the fact that she’s there now – make her the most qualified candidate for mayor.
Former state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg thinks his 20-plus years of holding elected office at City Hall and the state Capitol make him the better choice.
Ashby and Steinberg continued their attempts Thursday to differentiate their backgrounds as the race for mayor enters a pivotal stretch. Eight candidates have qualified for the June primary, but Ashby and Steinberg are the clear front-runners.
During a forum hosted by the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau at Memorial Auditorium, Ashby described herself as “a Day One mayor.”
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“I know exactly what we need to do, where to go and how to get there quickly,” she told an audience of tourism, hotel and restaurant representatives. “We won’t have to take a pace back to wait for a mayor to catch up, even if he’s been working in our region. It’s very different to be in the Capitol. I’m (at City Hall) right now, ready to go.”
Ashby was elected to represent North Natomas on the City Council in 2010. She has served as the vice mayor in two separate years – a position appointed by her council colleagues that is tasked with running council meetings and attending events in the mayor’s absence.
“In order for you to believe that my opponent’s experience gives him a leg up on me, you’d have to believe that running the Senate is the equivalent to running a council meeting, and it’s not,” she said in an interview after the forum. “It’s been a long time since Mr. Steinberg has sat at the dais at a City Council meeting.”
Steinberg served on the City Council from 1992 to 1998. He served in the state Assembly from 1998 to 2004 and in the state Senate from 2006 to 2014, the final six years as the president pro tem.
“I’ve spent over half of my adult life serving this city and I have always delivered for Sacramento, consistently,” Steinberg said during the forum. “And my record of accomplishment, my experience, my reach, I think, makes me by far the best candidate to help continue this economic renaissance and to make sure that the benefits of this renaissance are spread to all the neighborhoods of this city.”
Steinberg told reporters that “the city is looking for a mayor that has that experience, that record of accomplishments.”
“The city is looking for a mayor that knows how to balance the budget, but at the same time is aspirational,” he said. “The city does not want to go backwards.”