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Riddle, Williams Take Initial Step to Run For Assembly

Published on Thursday, January 12, 2023 | 1:09 pm
Phlunte Riddle (l) and Felicia Williams (r)

District 2 City Councilmember Felicia Williams and former Pasadena Police Lieutenant Phlunte Riddle have taken steps to seek the assembly seat currently held by Chris Holden in 2024. 

Williams and Riddle have opened exploratory committees, the first step in a campaign for the State Assembly according to the Secretary of State’s website. 

Riddle broke gender and racial barriers in Pasadena Police Department, becoming the first African-American female sergeant and the first female lieutenant in the motor pool. She was also the first female helicopter observer at major Rose Bowl events. 

Under the direction of former Chief Bernard Melekian and Cmdr. Rick Law, Riddle started the city’s police athletic league. 

Her father-in-law, Ralph Riddle, became the first black police officer in Pasadena in 1946. He retired in 1974 also after 28 years with the force.

Riddle left the department in 2012. That same year she was invited by several departments to apply for police chief positions.  

In 2019, Governor Newsom appointed her to the Juvenile Parole Board.

If Williams does seek the seat in the 41st district, she would have to vacate her council seat. A candidate cannot appear on the ballot twice. 

Williams won her seat in 2020 after then-District 2 City Councilmember Margaret McAustin opted not to run for reelection after her husband was diagnosed with cancer.

At the time Williams was touted as one of the most qualified candidates ever due to her time on the Rose Bowl Operating Company and the Planning Commission. 

She also chaired the Environmental Commission and served on the Transportation Advisory Commission. 

Williams also served on the boards of Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena Educational Foundation, and Pasadena Police Foundation and is a Citizens Police Academy graduate.

She was endorsed by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Arroyo Democratic Club, and Democrats of the Pasadena Foothills and ACT.

She later came under fire for changing her voter registration from Democrat to No Party Preference.

She currently chairs the Municipal Services Committee and rotated into the vice mayor position late last year. 

“I changed my voter registration nine months after winning the primary and taking time to read the State Constitution,” Williams told Pasadena Now. “Our constitution clearly designates LOCAL offices as non-partisan, and I felt the best way to listen to all of my constituents without bias was without a party designation. I regret if this offended anyone, but I wanted to take my oath with a clear conscience and follow not only the letter but the intent of the law, especially as our country has grown more and more divided.”

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