From Jim Sanders at the Capitol:
Martin Garrick, who touts himself as a "lifelong conservative advocate," was elected today as Assembly Republican leader.
Garrick will replace Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo, who will be termed out this year, as head of the 28-member GOP caucus.
Garrick, of Solana Beach, is serving his second of three possible terms in the 74th Assembly District, representing parts of San Diego County.
The 56-year-old Solana Beach lawmaker, like nearly every GOP colleague, has signed a national pledge vowing to "oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes."
Garrick reinforced that commitment this month in comments about Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed new budget, which did not seek sales or income taxes to help bridge a shortfall projected to reach $19.9 billion by July 2011.
"I have always said that when you find yourself in a hole you should stop digging," Garrick said in a written statement. "Californians are already burdened with the highest sales tax and the second highest income tax in the nation.
"Tax increases will not solve the structural budget deficit and will only extend the economic crisis gripping our state and nation," he said.
Prior to his selection as leader, Garrick was serving under Blakeslee as an assistant leader of the Assembly GOP Caucus.
Garrick, on his Assembly Web site, describes himself as founder of Admiral Industries Inc., a telecommunications company, and as the owner and manager of a real estate investment firm, Admiral Property Co.
In the 1980s, Garrick said, he joined the Reagan for President campaign at its national headquarters in Arlington, Va. He later served in Reagan's White House transition team and in numerous positions for the president's administration, including Deputy Senate House Liaison.
The 56-year-old lawmaker has been a longtime political activist. He served as first vice chairman of the San Diego Republican Party, a board member of the San Diego Lincoln Club, and as a member of the Adam Smith Institute and the San Diego County Republican Party Central Committee, his Web site said.
Garrick, a native of Glendale, graduated from California Western/United States International University with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
He and his wife, Jane, a school teacher, have four grown children - two girls, two boys.
Garrick represents the communities of Carlsbad, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Vista, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, and portions of San Diego, Escondido and Oceanside.