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ha_APAPA14040 chris parker.JPGIt's official: Chris Parker is the second Democrat vying for the newly drawn 8th Assembly District seat stretching from Citrus Heights to the Wilton area.

Parker, 36, moved from downtown Sacramento to Carmichael in October and will compete for an open seat that Republicans are expected to make a top priority statewide in next year's election.

An attorney for the state Franchise Tax Board, Parker said the 8th Assembly District is a good fit for him because his office is in Rancho Cordova, where he has worked for nearly seven years.

Parker, who ran unsuccessfully for the Board of Equalization last year, never has held elected office. He is active in Democratic Party politics, however, both at the local and state level.

As a legislator, Parker said, he would make cracking down on tax evaders a personal priority.

"My job as a tax attorney has shown me that there's a need to fight for fairness, to fight for those who have been left behind in the current economy -- and to hold accountable those who try to cheat the system," Parker said.

California loses billions each year to tax cheats or those who do not pay their fair share, Parker said.

"Those are dollars that we need to bring into the general fund to help pay for education, infrastructure and public safety," he said. "Having worked inside the system for seven years, I think it could work more effectively and efficiently than it does now."

Parker said he has received endorsements from Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, and from the California Nurses Association, among others.

Rancho Cordova Mayor Ken Cooley also is seeking the 8th District seat after incumbent Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, who initially had vowed to run, changed her mind this month amid marital and mortgage woes.

Peter Tateishi, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, is the first GOP candidate.

But Republican Jon Bagatelos, who has deep roots in the Sacramento County business community and ran unsuccessfully for the Assembly in 2002, is also weighing a bid for the 8th District seat.

Democrats outnumber Republicans by two percentage points in the district, newly drawn by the California Redistricting Commission, a 14-member citizens panel that replaced lawmakers this year in designating boundaries for the state's legislative and congressional districts.

PHOTO CAPTION: Chris Parker, then a candidate for Board of Equalization, speaks on Sept. 26, 2010, at a candidates forum at Sacramento State organized by the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association. Sacramento Bee file / Hector Amezcua



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