YORBA LINDA — Councilwoman Barbara Kiley, who played a key role in last year's passage of Proposition 187, announced Monday that she will run for the 72nd District Assembly seat that Ross Johnson will vacate if he is elected to the state Senate next month.
Kiley said she was asked to run by the architects of Proposition 187, the ballot measure that bars illegal immigrants from receiving welfare, public health care and public education.
Ron Prince, the Tustin accountant who headed the Proposition 187 campaign, formally endorsed Kiley on Monday.
If elected, Kiley vowed to fight for full implementation of Proposition 187, parts of which have been tied up in the courts since voters approved it last November.
"I want to go to Sacramento and keep working for 187 and other important issues," she said. "I think my work with 187 is a total plus. . . . If it wasn't, I wouldn't be running."
Johnson (R-Placentia) will be the GOP candidate in a May 9 runoff election for the vacant seat in the 35th District Senate race. He will face Democrat Madelene Arakelian. If he wins, a special election for his Assembly seat would likely take place in September.
Kiley, who works as a political consultant with her husband, Richard, was an early and outspoken proponent of Proposition 187, frequently stating her views on national television. She and her husband served as political advisers to the campaign.
Barbara Kiley was elected to the Yorba Linda City Council in 1992 and served as mayor in 1994. In the 1980s, she worked as an events planner at the White House.
"This seat is up at a good time in my life," Kiley said Monday. "My daughter is graduating from high school and going to college. My husband is traveling a lot on business. . . . I have the ability right now to serve in Sacramento and fight for the important issues."
One of her priorities, Kiley said, would be to give cities more control over budget decisions. She said the state now has too much control over how cities spend their money.
In addition to Prince, Kiley has been endorsed by Rep. Jay C. Kim (R-Diamond Bar) and state Sen. Richard Mountjoy (R-Arcadia).
Kiley is the second prominent Republican to announce a candidacy for Johnson's 72nd Assembly District, which includes Yorba Linda, Fullerton, Placentia, La Habra and parts of Anaheim. Last month, Fullerton Councilman Chris Norby announced that he would run for the seat.
Norby said his experience in city government and understanding of the county financial crisis gives him the edge.
"It's fine to be against illegal immigration and criminals, but people are looking for answers out of the bankruptcy," he said. "I think the real issue in this campaign is the county situation."