Kelly Hayes-Raitt, vice chair of the Santa Monica Commission on the Status of Women, announced her candidacy for the 41st Assembly District seat, currently held by Fran Pavley.

Pavley will be termed out of office in 2006.

The 41st District stretches northwest from Santa Monica to Oxnard and includes Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Topanga, Port Hueneme, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Woodland Hills, Tarzana and Encino.

Hayes-Raitt, a Democrat, began her campaign with a fundraising event Monday, December 6th. Another fundraising event is planned Thursday, December 16th.

She is a Santa Monica resident, owns a political consulting business and was an environmental aide to former Lt. Gov. Leo McCarthy. She claims statewide leadership on environmental, consumer, affordable housing and education policies.

Hayes-Raitt was recently honored by the Los Angeles City Council for advocacy on behalf of Iraqi citizens. She visited Iraq twice last year.

“I’ve always been a strong advocate of energy efficiency, recycling and coastal protection,” Hayes-Raitt said.

“Coming face-to-face with Iraqi children who are literally paying with their lives for my oil consumption has made me even more determined to find ways to make California energy independent,” she said. “California has lost more men and women in the war on Iraq than any other state.”

She was also one of several women named by the Los Angeles County Commission on the Status of Women as a Los Angeles County Woman of the Year this year.

While working for McCarthy, Hayes-Raitt campaigned for successful legislation that protects homeowners from toxic mold and phases out old diesel school buses.

If elected, Hayes-Raitt said she would also be committed to supporting small businesses. Her consulting firm is a small business.

“When we talk about small businesses, we are talking about employment opportunities for women, for minorities, and increasingly for seniors,” she said. “There are several cost-effective ways our state can encourage small businesses.

“For example, we can require that California-based businesses receive preferential consideration in hiring for tax-funded projects. If we want to keep business in California, we need to give Californians our business.”

Campaign and fundraising information, (310) 474-5545.