Irwin leader in 44th



With a decisive vote Tuesday, locals have narrowed the race for California’s 44th District Assembly to two.

Appearing on the November ballot will be incumbent Democrat Jacqui Irwin and Republican attorney Ronda Baldwin-Kennedy. Democrat Robert Zelinsky, a chiropractor from Oak Park, finished a distant third.

Irwin, earning 51 percent of the primary vote, is running on her record of addressing cybersecurity concerns; support for California public universities, most recently helping fund start-up business incubators at schools; veterans issues; and helping to secure federal funds for local infrastructure projects.

“I’m proud of the work I’ve done so far,” the two-term Assembly member said. “We’re going to be doing a lot of messaging to voters in the fall to let them know I do as much for the district as I can.”

The 44th District includes the cities of Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village, and the communities of Lake Sherwood, Oak Park and Santa Rosa Valley.

“I’m happy with the results,” the Thousand Oaks resident said. “I think, especially once there are just two candidates, you’re talking about a relatively large advantage (as an incumbent), but it’s still important to work hard and communicate with the voters about the things I’ve worked on.”

Baldwin-Kennedy, with 45 percent of the primary vote, challenges Irwin on two headline-grabbing issues facing California: The Road Repair and Accountability Act, SB 1, which recently raised gas costs and vehicle registration fees, and the California Values Act, SB 54, commonly referred to as the sanctuary state bill.

Irwin voted for both while Baldwin Kennedy opposes them and would like to see both overturned. “I really do think Jacqui Irwin is out of touch on SB 54,” she said. “You need to really go down into your neighborhoods and see how they feel, and that’s what I do.”

Baldwin-Kennedy, who moved to Westlake Village this year from the Santa Clarita area, said she is excited and encouraged by the June 5 election results and looking forward to November’s election.