State Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, a Salinas Democrat, announced her candidacy for the 12th Senate District presently held by Anthony Cannella of Ceres.
Caballero, 62, is being termed out of her Assembly seat.
"I want to provide rural Californians with a pathway to strength and prosperity and I can best do that in the California State Senate," said Caballero, who started out in politics as mayor of Salinas.
The 12th Senate District includes part of Stanislaus, Madera and Fresno counties and includes the Salinas Valley, San Benito County, Merced County.
"Rural communities need a strong voice in the California State Senate because the big city senators do not listen to us unless we make noise and fight for what we rightfully deserve. I can provide that voice in the Senate just as I did in the State Assembly, where I led the efforts to provide safe and adequate water via a water bond and to help rural families who faced tough times paying their bills through earned income credit."
Caballero sounded an anti-President Trump theme when she suggested that a political storm sweeping across the country will seriously damage rural California unless the "right people" are elected.
"But not all of the storms that threaten our home, our families and our communities are natural disasters," she said. "Sometimes we need to recognize political storms and political disasters that are threatening us."
She railed against what she calls "divisive rhetoric coming from Washington D.C.," and said the storm she is referring to is one "fed by words that seek to engender fear so that people do not trust each other and are afraid of everybody" and fed by "intimidating sexist behavior coming from some state legislators in Sacramento."
Caballero pledged to use her campaign to convince all voters that they can make a difference.
"We will reach out to those voters who have lost faith in themselves and our democracy, not just to people who always vote," Caballero said. "We cannot keep our home safe unless we are all working together to prepare and respond. We will work together to adopt policies that produce affordable housing, safe drinking water, quality education and an environment that takes care of our planet."