Former mayor and current councilman in Artesia, Calif., Ali Sajjad Taj Feb. 26 formally announced his candidacy for state Senate in the 32nd Legislative District.
Taj, a Pakistani American Democrat, announced his plans in the wake of fellow Democrat Tony Mendoza, also of Artesia, stepping down from his post as state senator amid sexual misconduct allegations.
"I declare that I will run for California’s 32nd Senate district," Taj wrote in a Facebook post.
Taj, who has been a fixture at numerous Indian American events during his tenure, has lived in the district, which encompasses several Los Angeles County cities including Artesia, as well as Orange County city Buena Park, for two decades and has served Artesia as mayor and councilman for the past five years.
"I’m passionate about making sure our state government is accountable, cost-effective and responsive to residents’ needs," he wrote.
Taj, who had been running for re-election to the Artesia City Council, was elected in 2013, beating the then incumbent and ushering in an era of increased employment, improved public safety and a balanced city budget, he boasted in his announcement.
A board member for the Eco Rapid Transit, Taj said he was the lead in the regeneration of the city's downtown.
Taj currently serves as a board member at the California Democratic Party, but previously worked in the finance industry, as an investment consultant at TD Ameritrade, managing principal at Waddell & Reed, and vice president at Ameriprise Financial.
"My background is in finance, have proven that I can balance budgets by cutting waste, not the services local people rely on," he said. "When elected, I promise to work closely with the community to boost business, advocate for improved education and tackle our affordable housing and homelessness issues. But above all, I pledge to work with integrity and dedication to represent the 32nd and the diverse communities that make it such a vibrant and exciting place to live."
In the short time since announcing his candidacy for the statewide position, Taj has received a number of endorsements.
Among the individuals and organizations endorsing the Pakistani American include Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, Artesia Mayor Sally Flowers, Artesia Councilmember Victor Manalo, Sierra Madre Mayor Rachelle Arizmendi, Commerce Oralia Mayor Y. Rebollo, Downey Mayor Sean Ashton, Irvine Councilwoman Melissa Fox, Women's Club of Artesia Cerritos president Katherine George Chu, Board of Trustee Cerritos College Martha Camacho-Rodriguez, Board of Trustee Cerritos College Dr. Shin Liu, South Gate Councilwoman Denise Diaz, Westminester Councilwoman Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen, and the Pakistani American Community Center, among others.
"I look forward to serve you in the 32nd State Senate District," Taj concluded in his post.
The primary election for the state is June 5. The winner advances to the Nov. 6 general election.