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Former California Senate leader enters Sacramento mayor race
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SACRAMENTO . (AP) — A former leader of the California Senate on Wednesday announced his bid for mayor of Sacramento, saying he wants to build on the city’s renaissance.

Former Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg jumped into the race to lead the state’s sixth-largest city after former NBA star and current Mayor Kevin Johnson decided not to seek a third term.

Steinberg, 56, is a Sacramento Democrat who championed early education and mental health support during his 14 years in the Legislature. He served as a city councilman before that.

He enters the race with name recognition and a financial advantage. He has more than $1.4 million in a candidate account for lieutenant governor, with major donations in his final legislative session coming from labor unions, trial attorneys and health care groups.

If elected next year, Steinberg would join other state leaders who have returned home to be mayor, including Gov. Jerry Brown in Oakland, former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown in San Francisco and former Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa in Los Angeles.

At a news conference on the site of an urban infill housing project, Steinberg told supporters he was proud to be a candidate for “the city I love.”

He said he wants to build on the city’s revitalization efforts. Under Johnson, the city fought to keep the Sacramento Kings basketball team from leaving for Seattle and is currently building a $500 million downtown arena.

Steinberg and his wife, Julie, have two children who currently attend college outside Sacramento.

“We want to build a city where they want to come back because housing is affordable, there are high-wage jobs, a modern urban transit system, a safe place to raise their families and a vibe that says, ‘This is the place to live,’” Steinberg said.

Two-term Councilwoman Angelique Ashby is also running for mayor.