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A teacher and political activist from Carmichael announced plans today to challenge GOP Rep. Dan Lungren in the newly drawn 7th Congressional District.

Mario Galvan, who is registered decline-to-state, said his candidacy was inspired by the "Occupy" movement and widespread public dissatisfaction with the politics in Washington, D.C.. He said in a release announcing his campaign that he wants to ""Occupy the government."

Galvan, 64, told The Bee in an interview that a central theme of his campaign will be his commitment to representing the views of district residents of all political leanings, promoting a "democracy that's inclusive rather than adversarial."

"Our politics has become like a war, so polarized," he said. "My candidacy offers an alternative in the form of direct democracy that invites everyone to part in the political decisions on an ongoing basis."

A close voter registration split in 7th Congressional District makes the East Sacramento County seat, which stretches from the Galt area to Citrus Heights, a top target for both Democrats and Republicans in 2012. Elk Grove Democrat Ami Bera, who lost to Lungren in 2010, has already raised more than $1 million for a rematch against the Gold River Republican.

Galvan, whose only other experience running for office was in a school board election in Loomis years ago, said as a "non-traditional" candidate, he does not intend to try to match the fundraising numbers of his rivals for the seat.

"Nobody can raise the money that these super PACS will raise," he said. "If we cannot clear our minds of the 30-second attack ad mentality in politics, then we're doomed."


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