O’Donnell Seeking Berth In Lower State Legislative Chamber This Time Around

(April 2)   Melissa O’Donnell, who carried the standard for the Democrats in 2012 when she ran against Bill Emmerson in California State Senate District 23, has once again entered the political fray, this time seeking a berth in the State Assembly.  This time around O’Donnell has set her sights on the 40th Assembly District, representing Rancho Cucamonga, the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, a portion of the city of San Bernardino, Redlands, Highland, Loma Linda and Grand Terrace. Squaring off against her are Democrats Art Bustamante, Kathleen Marie Henry, and Republican Marc Steinorth.
O’Donnell has worked as a teacher, has sold real estate and she now owns an education company, Time To Learn Fast.
O’Donnell characterizes the residents of the 40th District as “hardworking” and says they need and deserve able leadership capable of bridging the partisan divide.
“I think I am ready for the position,” she said. “I am qualified. I can bring needed change to the area. I am a business owner. People and politicians talk about creating jobs, but it does not happen. I would concentrate on convincing corporations to take advantage of our trained and skilled workforce. I would give those corporations incentives to come to the area and with that I think we can bring a lot of progress to the area.”
O’Donnell said she is acutely conscious of the range of diversity and different opinion within the sprawling 40th District.
“I have met with different groups,” she said. In her search for commonality among her would-be constituents, she said, she has learned that they all want the economy to grow. She said that shared goal dovetails with a portion of the Democratic Party’s agenda for the state.
“They tell me they see stability over the long term as very important,” O’Donnell said. “I am a supporter of Covered California. Everyone deserves health insurance. It will reduce costs long term. People will not need to go to emergency rooms for non-emergency care if everyone signs up for insurance.”
She said she embraced her party’s stand with regard to environmental protection.
“I am interested in keeping the environment safe and clean as possible,” she said. “I want to prevent water pollution and air pollution.”
At the same time, she said, she is sympathetic to issues Republican hold dear.
“I have been going around and hearing a lot of different viewpoints,” she said. “I am a good listener,” she said. “I am serious about hearing whatever everyone has to say. I think I have a lot of experience. When it comes to holding public office, I can work across the aisle. I have friends in the Assembly and Senate. There are a lot of different viewpoints.”
As for her opponents, O’Donnell opined, “I don’t think they have what it takes. I ran for State Senate in 2012 and received 45 percent of the vote in San Bernardino County. I am meeting with members of Assembly now. I will know what to do when I step into the job. I will begin by working to meet expectations early. There are a lot of Republicans and Democrats in the district. I will try to be the leader for everyone. The majority in Sacramento are Democrats. They will be more willing to hear what I have to say. I will support and represent both Republicans and Democrats. I would not be a one-sided leader.  I want everyone to know I support views of the Republican and Democrats.”
Born and raised in Orange County, she attended Los Angeles High School ForThe Arts and Chapman College, where she received her bachelor’s degree in education. Unmarried, she is a resident of Highland.

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