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Editorial: Five primary picks we still support for November election

The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board has begun interviewing candidates and supporters of measures in state and local races in the Nov. 4 general election and publishing endorsements.

But there are a handful of races in which a candidate who received our endorsement in the June primary advanced to the general election. We don’t switch endorsements unless something untoward or unusual happens between a primary election. Below are the recaps of our original endorsement in those five races.

Secretary of State: Alex Padilla

State Sen. Padilla, an MIT-trained engineer, has a long history as a thoughtful leader, starting with his election to the Los Angeles City Council in 2001, where he served two terms as a council president. In the state Senate, he authored notable bills including the recently passed statewide plastic bag ban and an earthquake early-alert.

His background would be a plus for a position that makes important and costly decisions about technology and numbers, from assessing voting machine processes to building databases.

We like Padilla’s goal of adding 1 million more voters by the end of his first term, though we urge him to aim for twice that number.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Marshall Tuck

Tuck is running against incumbent Tom Torlakson, who has shown his true allegiance is to teacher unions by advocating an appeal to a ruling striking down teacher tenure and other hiring protections.

Tuck has the energy, experience and independence that Torlakson lacks. He has led schools and school administrations as former president of Green Dot Public Schools, a nonprofit charter school operator, and head of his Partnership for L.A. Schools.

Assembly District 4: Bill Dodd

Dodd, a four-term supervisor from Napa County, is well-informed on sprawl, traffic gridlock, transit services and public-private partnerships. However, his most intriguing feature is his party switch.

Dodd says that his values had been Democratic for more than a decade – from immigration reform on the national level to support for a drug and rehabilitation center at the local level. He says the tipping point in his decision to switch parties was the debate over gay marriage and marriage equality.

Assembly District 7: Steve Cohn

Veteran Sacramento City Councilman Cohn, a former top lawyer for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, has compiled a strong record on parks and public safety. He has disagreed with colleagues without being uncivil, a trait that would come in handy in the Legislature.

He vows to be a problem solver, not a partisan. Wisely, he already knows what he wants to focus on as a legislator. Better yet, he can hit the ground running in areas where he has expertise –transportation, water and utilities.

Assembly District 9: Darrell Fong

Fong, who served 30 years with the Sacramento Police Department, would bring a much-needed cop’s-eye view of criminal justice issues to the Democratic-controlled Legislature. He displayed a welcome independent streak by voting to cut the police budget in 2011 after concluding that the police union had failed to agree to sufficient contract concessions.

The Bee’s editorial board has not always agreed with Fong during his single term on the council. But Fong’s common sense and unpretentiousness would help a Legislature sorely lacking in both.

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