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Assembly speaker announces 2014 bid for controller
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SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Assembly Speaker John Perez has announced that he is running for state controller next year.

The Los Angeles Democrat, who will be termed out of office in 2014, said in a statement issued this week that he wants to help ensure continued improvement with the state's finances.

"California has made great strides in its path to recovery, but our work is far from complete," he said.

Democrat John Chiang, the current state controller, is termed out next year. The office is in charge of dispersing state money and helping administer two of the largest public pension funds in the country.

Another Democrat, Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, also has announced her candidacy for controller.

Perez starts the campaign with $1.5 million that he transferred from previous campaign accounts, said Doug Herman, his political strategist.

Perez was first elected to the Assembly in 2008 and has served as speaker since 2010, when he became the first openly gay lawmaker to lead either house of the Legislature.

In the statement announcing his bid, Perez touted his work on state budgets, health care coverage and a college scholarship program for middle-class students.

He faced controversy in 2011 amid reports that his official biographies claimed he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, when in fact he had never finished his degree. Perez said he regretted that his record had not been accurately portrayed and that he has worked to correct it.