AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventMontañez countered with her own achievements in the state Assembly. “I’ve been a very effecitve member of the state Legislature. I think my track record speaks for itself,” Montañez told the audience at a private school in Winnetka. Montañez, who had worked on Padilla’s council re-election effort, listed her experiences since being elected to the Assembly in 2002, including her focus on urban environmental cleanup, consumer protection and health care. Both agreed in general on a number of topics like immigration reform, transportation and health care during the cordial debate. “If there is anyone who has experience, it’s myself, and I will continue to be protective of California,” Montañez said. Padilla pointed to his six years of helping to balance city budgets and defending local budgets from state government. “I would not take away from local budgets. There’s got to be a better way,” Padilla said. Primary elections will be held June 6, when each party selects its front-runners. Election watchers have said Padilla and Montañez share some similarities. Both entered municipal elected office in their mid-20s and are seen as having substantial political careers ahead of them. Both are Latino Democrats who grew up in the Northeast Valley. If elected to the Senate, Montañez said, she expects to work on the same issues she pushed as an Assembly member, citing additional goals including fighting for transportation bond measures to help the Valley, affordable housing and sound development planning. Padilla has said he also ran for council re-election because there are still projects he is trying to bring to completion, such as a new City Hall building in the Northeast Valley. Padilla, who fought against secession, said if elected to the Senate he would work to ensure that the Valley gets its fair share of new infrastructure funding, and make sure those investments don’t increase sprawl; improve access and affordability of health care; and work on childhood diabetes prevention. The two veteran politicians face two other challengers. Donnie Adlen, the 64-year-old owner of several auto wrecking yards in Sun Valley, is running on the Republican ticket. Calling himself a moderate Republican, Adlen said he has a pro-choice stance on abortion, free university education and more funding for nonprofit organizations. Pamela Brown, an economics professor at Pierce College who is running as a Libertarian, backs pension and budget reforms in addition to lowering California’s minimum wage from $6.75 to the federal rate of $5.15 per hour to improve the job market. [email protected] (818) 713-3664160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WINNETKA – Los Angeles City Councilman Alex Padilla and Assemblywoman Cindy Montañez, both Democratic candidates for the highly contested 20th District state Senate seat, kicked off their first local debate Thursday night by highlighting their strengths in office, but avoiding any mudslinging. Both are vying for a seat soon to be vacated by termed-out Richard Alarcon, D-Van Nuys. Padilla, who has sat on the City Council since 1999, touted his local accomplishments such as hiring more police officers for the Northeast Valley. “You can clearly see that I have a track record of not just fighting for the Valley, but delivering for the Valley,” Padilla told a crowd of more than 100 residents at the debate sponsored by the Reseda, Canoga Park and Winnetka neighborhood councils.