James Ramos. Campaign photo

Former San Manuel Band leader aims to make history in California

James Ramos, a former chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, is seeking to make history with his run for office in California.

Ramos, a Democrat, wants to represent the 40th Assembly District, an area that includes his tribe's homelands. If elected, he would be the first Native American from a California tribe to serve in the Legislature.

"I was born and raised in this community. As a tribal leader, a business owner, a community leader and as a county supervisor, I have worked to make it a better place," said Ramos.

The campaign has the "full support" of the San Manuel Band, the tribe announced on Thursday. He served two terms as chairman on the reservation, from 2008 to 2012.

Later that year, Ramos won election to the board of supervisors in San Bernardino County. He has served two terms in a county where about 2 percent of the population is Native American.

Marc Steinorth, a Republican, has represented the 40th Assembly District since 2014. But he is not seeking the seat this year -- he is instead running for the county board -- a development eagerly shared by Ramos on his campaign site.

“I have always worked in a bipartisan manner and that will not change in the State Assembly.” Ramos said.

Other candidates for the seat include Libbern Cook and Mark Parker, both Democrats, as well as Carol A. Bouldin from the Green Party

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