20 Aug 2014
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Petrilla Announces Bid for State Assembly

City's youngest councilman has eyes for the 73rd District in 2014.

Petrilla Announces Bid for State Assembly

Jesse Petrilla, who launched a two-year campaign that led to his becoming the youngest city councilman in Rancho Santa Margarita history, will have a go at higher office.

Petrilla, 29, announced Thursday his intention to run for the California State Assembly in the 73rd District, a two-year seat currently held by Diane Harkey.

Petrilla served a tour in Afghanistan from April to September with the California Army National Guard. He said in a press release he would be honored to fight for Californians in Sacramento.

"California is where I was born and raised, and I want to do my small part to help ensure our future is the best possible for all our families," he said. "I look forward to meeting with the voters of South Orange County between now and the election, and would be humbled to have their support."

Petrilla says his platform consists of fighting for lower taxes, pension reform, and bringing jobs back to California.

His term as a councilmember expires in 2014. He was elected in 2010 after an aggressive campaign he says included knocking on every Rancho Santa Margarita door twice.

Petrilla did not respond to a text request for a response.

His time in elected office has not been without obstacles. After attending four council meetings, he spent nearly four months in training at Fort Knox in 2011 before missing the five months in 2012. He also made statements through social media without being able to document his claims, and gave misleading answers about receiving council benefits though he was still receiving them at the time. Patch asked, during the public comment portion of Petrilla's last council meeting before departing to Afghanistan, to explain his false statements and correct the record; he did not respond.

Additionally, Petrilla threw his support behind 2012 council candidate Kenney Hrabik, who he also supported during the appointment process in 2011 for an open council seat. Hrabik had his own issues with misleading statements during an election year. He was largely responsible for a petition for the "Voters' Bill of Rights," which alleged Rancho Santa Margarita had a worse business environment than El Centro, Bakersfield, Philadelphia and New Orleans, though RSM was never a part of the Milken Institute study cited.

Petrilla stated after his first night in office that he intended to fight for term limits and would remain on the council for eight years. "I expect to be termed out of office," he said.

Petrilla is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton and married his wife, Vesna, in 2009.

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