State Senator Connie Leyva, D-Chino, will not seek re-election to the state Legislature in November. Instead, she will run for an office much closer to home — a seat on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
Leyva, a former labor leader, was elected to represent State Senate District 20 in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. She won hands down both times, receiving 62.4 percent of the vote in 2014 and 69, 5% in 2018. But California’s legislative districts were redrawn at the end of December, dividing the Leyva district in two. The new Senate District 29 includes most of the San Bernardino County side of his current district, while the new Senate District 22 includes his hometown of Chino, but otherwise is mostly Los Angeles County .
On December 24, Leyva announced on Twitter that she would run for a third and final term (due to term limits) to represent Senate District 22. But less than two weeks later, she put the brakes on, announcing on January 4 that she would not be running for the seat after all.
“After some re-cutting and soul-searching, I realized my heart was in San Bernardino County,” Leyva said in an interview Wednesday.
And so, she instead decided to run for the Fourth District seat on the Board of Supervisors, currently held by Board Chairman Curt Hagman. The Fourth District includes Chino, Chino Hills, Ontario, Montclair, and the Southern Uplands.
“I really think I can do good things and get things done for the county,” Leyva said.
Although running for Senate District 22 would have meant facing Senator Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, who has indicated that she would seek re-electionLeyva said that, finally, it’s just time to go home.
“For eight years, I never liked coming here and leaving my family,” she said by phone from Sacramento. “It is the right time.”
In taking on Hagman, a former Republican Party minority leader in the state Assembly, Leyva faces an opponent already endorsed by the rest of the board of supervisors, as well as Sheriff-Coroner Shannon Dicus, Superintendent of San Bernardino County Schools Ted Alejandre, District Attorney Jason Anderson, Auditor-Comptroller-Treasurer-Tax Collector Ensen Mason and County Assessor-Recorder-Clerk Bob Dutton.
Facing an entrenched and well-connected opponent doesn’t worry him, Leyva said.
“No one will outrun me,” she said. “I know I can bring more resources to San Bernardino County.”
Hagman’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.
Leyva highlighted her work in securing a $35 million Transformative Climate Communities Program grant for Ontario in 2018, which allowed the city to build affordable housing on Holt Avenue. She worked with city officials on the grant, she said, because Hagman was “nowhere to be found” during the process.
Last March, Leyva announced her intention to run for state superintendent of education in 2026. She is not ruling out running for a statewide position in the future.
“I’m not closing this (campaign) account,” she said, “but my focus right now is on the county supervisor.”
Although she remains local for the time being, Leyva said she will build on the skills she learned in the state legislature.
“I can get more people around the table,” she added. “I did this in Sacramento and I can do this in the county.”