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20110323_ha_budget5857.JPGFormer Assemblyman Roger Niello, who made news last week when he filed a proposed initiative to alter public employee pension benefits, could return to the ballot himself in upcoming elections.

The Fair Oaks Republican, who served three terms in the Assembly, told Capitol Alert that he is weighing potential runs for state Senate and statewide office.

"I'd like to be in the mix to get us back to that golden status," he said. "Any way I can do that, I'd like that."

Niello's support of a 2009 budget package that included taxes was a hot issue in his bid for a vacant state Senate seat last year. He lost the primary for the conservative 1st Senate District to Roseville Republican Ted Gaines, who did not back the tax deal. But Niello said he believes redistricting will create a seat "that will give me a much better opportunity" to win in future elections.

He also didn't rule out running for constitutional office, saying a statewide post is also "something that would appeal to me."

The former Assembly Budget Committee vice chairman, who has worked as a certified public accountant and for his family's auto dealerships, said state controller "would be a very interesting office to hold for me."

"I'd find it professionally interesting and challenging, and again it's an office that can have an impact for me," he said of the post, which will open up in 2014.

PHOTO: Former Assemblyman Roger Niello listens to a question at a Sacramento Bee and Capital Public Radio panel discussion on the state budget on Wednesday, March 23, 2011. Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee.



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