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For a man who said he has not made any decisions about running for public office, former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado had some strong words Saturday about California's outlook.

After speaking at an event on recruiting more Republican Latino candidates for higher office, Maldonado told Capitol Alert others have encouraged him to run but that "I haven't made any decisions about what I'm going to do in 2014." But he said the California Republican Party, gathered in Sacramento for its bi-annual convention, has work to do.

"I love California and I'm not going to give up on California and we can't give up on California," Maldonado said. "There's no secret that California and this party, the GOP, is on the wrong path. So we need to get people to change. So, you know, we'll leave it at that."

Maldonado is coming off a string of election defeats, most recently losing his bid to represent the redrawn 24th Congressional District by nearly 10 points in November. He unsuccessfully ran for California state controller in 2006 and in 2010 lost his campaign to remain lieutenant governor, a position he had been appointed to by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009.

Still, he holds some appeal for a party still reeling from a trouncing in November. He has held statewide office, could shore up the party's efforts to appeal to Latino voters and developed a reputation in the state Senate as a moderate voice.

In an op-ed in today's issue of The Sacramento Bee, Maldonado described a way to reverse his party's fortunes in California. One of his suggestions was for the party to stop "shying way from the issue of immigration," and he endorsed offering undocumented immigrants work permits that can serve as a bridge to citizenship.

"Immigration is an important issue for the Latino community," Maldonado told Capitol Alert on Saturday. "My father is an immigrant who came here to work hard, who received a temporary worker permit, who received a green card, and his son was the 47th lieutenant governor of California. The system worked and it could continue to work."

PHOTO CREDIT: Former lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado speaks at an event during the California Republican Party's convention in Sacramento. March 2, 2013 by Jeremy B. White/The Sacramento Bee.



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