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Republican Tony Amador, a Lodi resident and retired federal marshal, will seek the newly drawn 9th Assembly seat stretching from south Sacramento through Elk Grove to Lodi.

Amador will compete against a field expected to include incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Richard Pan -- who is moving into the district to run - and Elk Grove City Councilwoman Sophia Scherman, a Republican.

Amador said the new district is a perfect fit for him because he lived in Elk Grove for nearly 20 years before moving to Lodi in 2009. Voter registration favors Democrats, however, by 13 percentage points.

"My top priority is not a specific piece of legislation as much as it is to have a citizen representative for the district - I'm 68 years old - who is not looking to make a career out of politics," Amador said.

Amador said he currently serves as vice chairman of the San Joaquin County Republican Central Committee but has never held elective office. He ran unsuccessfully in 2010 for Congress and for the Lodi City Council.

His resume includes stints as a police officer and police union president in Los Angeles, director of the California Youth Authority, and chairman of the Youthful Offender Parole Board.

Amador describes himself as a conservative, but said he is an independent thinker who has made no commitment to sign the anti-tax pledge supported by most GOP lawmakers in California.

"I would hate to paint myself into a corner," he said of the tax pledge, adding that he would keep an open mind on taxes, a fiercely partisan issue in recent years, with Democrats supporting a hike and Republicans bitterly opposed.

Amador said he opposes California's current plan to build a high-speed rail system; is open-minded about pension reform, provided it does not harm active or retired state workers; and that he would fight hard to protect the water rights of farmers.

Under California's new "Top Two" primary system, voters will have an opportunity to cast their ballot for a candidate from either party in the June primary. The two top finishers, regardless of party, will square off in November for the seat.


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