2012-03-15 / Community
Local Republican steps up to challenge Fran Pavley
Westlake Village resident Todd Zink, a district attorney in Los Angeles County and a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Reserves, announced on March 7 that he will challenge state Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Calabasas) to represent the newly formed 27th Senate District.
The district includes Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Calabasas, portions of the western San Fernando Valley and Santa Clarita, as well as the eastern Ventura County communities of Thousand Oaks, Moorpark and Simi Valley. Democrats have a 5.8 percent registration advantage over Republicans.
Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland of the 19th District was pegged as Pavley’s chief competition in the 27th. But when longtime U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly announced his retirement, Strickland set his sights on Congress instead of the California Senate.
Last month Assemblymember Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) also announced he wouldn’t compete in the 27th District race.
Zink, a Republican newcomer, said he seeks to bring accountability back to Sacramento.
“As a former Marine who served his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as a deputy district attorney who has defended our communities against violent criminals, I have an uncompromising commitment to public service and safety,” Zink said in a statement.
He cited concerns about fiscal mismanagement in state government and the resulting early release of thousands of convicted felons, and he stressed the importance of productivity and efficiency in state government.
“I want to bring commonsense solutions to the state to improve our schools and our communities. Bringing new jobs to the region is a big part of that. Sacramento is full of people that are focused on partisan bickering. I am focused on solutions,” he said.
Zink returned from Afghanistan on Feb. 3 after being away from his family for more than a year with his Houston-based Marine Corps reserve infantry battalion. He was commander of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines, also known as “The Lone Star Battalion,” made up of nearly 900 reserve Marines and sailors. He trained them for five months at Camp Pendleton before embarking on a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan.
“No one will be more committed or more qualified to protect our families in Sacramento than Todd Zink,” said Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley.
Zink and his wife, Christon, a small business owner and attorney specializing in workers’ compensation defense, have sons who attend Las Virgenes schools.
Zink earned a scholarship in the Naval ROTC program at the University of Southern California before being commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps.
After completing his active duty service, Zink earned a degree from Loyola Law School while working full-time in pharmaceutical sales and serving in the Marine Corps Reserves.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Zink’s company, based at Naval Base Ventura County, was deployed to Iraq, where it participated in the march to Baghdad to oust Saddam Hussein.
In 2005, Zink became a deputy district attorney for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, where he handles prosecution of felony offenders in the San Fernando Valley.
Parke Skelton, campaign consultant for Pavley, said his camp is not familiar with the new Republican contender.
“We’ve never heard of him or encountered him. But he seems like a nice guy, and we look forward to an interesting race in November,” Skelton said.
Pavley, who was the first mayor of Agoura Hills and served three terms in the Assembly, said experience in local government is vital in this era of term limits.
“All my years on the City Council prepared me for policymaking. You have to combine policy issues with constituent services and be responsible to people who live and work in the district,” said Pavley, who’s represented the state’s 23rd Senate District for the past four years.
“ Everything I’ve learned in the past has all been really important for making me a successful and effective legislator,” said Pavley, a former Moorpark schoolteacher who is responsible for many new state policies that protect the environment.
Pavley said she would continue to work on both sides of the aisle to create a vision for the state and solve problems affecting education and the economy as well as transportation, water and energy supply issues.