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'How Sweet It Is': Cheryl Brown Wins 47th Assembly Seat

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Publishing executive storms past Joe Baca Jr. by 9,000 votes

By Chris Levister

Cheryl Brown did not just win the 47th Assembly District seat Tuesday night. She commanded it.

Her victory signaled a stunning comeback from a double-digit loss in the June 2012 primary against Rialto Councilman Joe Baca Jr.

“With a 9,000-vote lead, the numbers declare victory,” said Brown.

Baca Jr. won the primary election with 42% of the vote compared to Brown’s 28.9 percent.

“They underestimated me. They tried to attack my record. They tried to take me off message. They failed,” she said with confidence.

With 100 percent of the votes counted and a few thousand absentee and provisional ballots still out, Brown leads Joe Baca Jr. 40,871 to 31,811.

“This was a good night,” an ecstatic Brown told more than 200 revelers during an election night party at her campaign office on ‘E’ Street in San Bernardino.

She told the cheering crowd of early fears allayed by an altar call.

“I went to my church and prayed at the altar. I asked God for guidance and protection,” she said. “When I stood up and wiped my eyes I never looked back.”

Baca and Brown both said economic and business issues would be among their top priorities if they are elected. The two candidates also said they place education and public safety in high importance.

“The voters wanted a fresh face in Sacramento, someone who will look past the partisan issues to bridge economic, partisan and racial divides,” she said. “Voters want someone who’s not afraid to fight for the right things and get those things done. I’ve committed my life to community service. That’s what I do…that’s who I am.” said Brown.

“These are tough times. There’s no getting around it. If you are working, it’s a recession, if you are unemployed, it’s a depression,” she said.

“Assembly Speaker John Perez called to congratulate me,” she said Wednesday.

“I’m headed to Sacramento this afternoon.”

Endorsed by Democrats, Republicans and Independents for the seat, Brown will travel to the state Capitol without a concession from Baca Jr.

“I called Baca Jr’s, campaign manager Carlos Penilla to see if Baca Jr. is conceding. He said he’ll get back to me. That’s the way it’s been throughout this campaign,” he said.

Black Voice News calls to Baca Jr. were also not returned. On Election night the candidate’s campaign headquarters in Rialto was virtually empty. Two volunteers made last minute calls before polls closed.

The race pitted Democrat against Democrat in the San Bernardino County district.

It is the latest chapter of a long-standing feud between Democratic factions in San Bernardino County.

The side backing Joe Baca Jr. was allied with the candidate’s father, U.S. Rep. Joe Baca, D-Rialto.

The faction supporting Cheryl Brown was allied with, among others, Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter and state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, who ran against the senior Baca in the 35th Congressional district. Brown worked as an aide for Carter and Negrete McLeod.

It was a rough night for the Baca family. Negrete McLeod defeated the longtime politician in probably the biggest surprise among Inland races. Negrete McLeod came from behind in the early voting to beat Baca handily, by 54 percent to 46 percent.

“Cheryl Brown’s victory represents a step towards quality leadership,” said Brown’s campaign manger Sebastian Ridley-Thomas.

“She ran a campaign based on the irreversible triumph of a new, 21st-century America: multiracial, multi-ethnic, global in outlook and moving beyond centuries of racial, sexual, marital and religious tradition. She’s a true leader for our times.”

Baca Jr. was in the Assembly from 2004 to 2006, representing much of the area in the newly drawn 47th district. He lost the Democratic primary for the state Senate in 2006 and later joined the Rialto City Council.

Brown, who publishes Black Voice News with her husband Hardy, is in her first run for legislative office.

The 47th Assembly District is centered around Rialto and also encompasses communities in Fontana, San Bernardino, Colton and Grand Terrace. The area is still reeling from past recession and weak labor markets. The unemployment in San Bernardino is nearly 16 percent.

In Rialto and Colton, respectively, the jobless rates are roughly 15 and 13 percent. Brown declined to elaborate on how she may specifically try to address economic or other issues in new legislation, but said her experience as a San Bernardino County planning commissioner and planning department staffer would help her to balance commerce and the environment.

“I’m not going to make a lot of promises before I get the facts. That’s what politicians do,” she said. “That said, we have to protect the environment that God has given us, but still not stop development,” she continued.

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0 # Don Johnson 2012-11-19 08:03
Congratulations Cheryl! You and Hardy have always been in our hearts and prayers. We wish you Godspeed in Sacramento. Stay true to your call and faith. You were there for us at our start. Now .We've got your back!
Love always. Don & Pat (Igbokwe) Johnson.
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+1 # Jemal 2012-11-12 19:25
Congratulations Cheryl! It's very gratifying to see a real pillar of the community make it to such an influential station in life. Better still is the realiztion that you have seriously interrupted the consistent stream of deception that the Bacas have imposed upon the community for a long time now. Ardess and I know that you will be successful in Sacramento and we trust that you will stay true to your creed and community when the cameras and mics are off and you find yourself in those back rooms and closed-door sessions!
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+1 # DR. DOROTHY SHEPHERD 2012-11-12 10:49
Congratulations! Queen Cheryl,
Continue to seek God's wisdom. I am here for you. It's a new day.
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+1 # Rudy Barbee 2012-11-11 17:50
Congratulations !! Too bad folks term limits would not allow more trustworthy folks to be within the legis halls at the same time. Best Wishes for Your Success.
Rudy Barbee
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0 # Andre Rouzan 2012-11-09 08:13
God Bless You on your Victory and your steps are ordered by God
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+1 # Guest 2012-11-08 20:17
This was a big win for 47th district and the community of the Inland Empire. Over the period of the race, Cheryl Brown took the time to invite my wife and I to her house and get a better understanding of our issues and fellowship with her. We enjoyed the opportunity to exchange ideas and thoughts on how the Inland Empire can be improved. Congratulations to a classy lady, a community activist, an educator, and community "Maven", and tireless leader.
Jonathan Buffong
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0 # Gabriel Acosta 2012-11-08 12:06
Dear, 47th Assembly Member Elect Cheryl Brown:
Congratulations on your recent election as 47th Assembly women!
I wish you the very best as you take your place in the State Assembly.
As a constituent and a professional serving public entities, I hope you will consider me a resource on the technology needs of your office and other non-profits you have relationships with. In addition, I would like to personally invite you to join me for a 30-minute meeting to introduce how we are helping public entities achieve their goals while reducing dollars spent. We recognize that every dollar saved is another dollar that can be spent to improve our local community.

Again, congratulations!
All the best,
Gabriel Acosta
State & Local Government Specialist
Inland Empire
Tel: 909-476-0800 ext. 2216
Cell: 909-520-8500
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