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Assembly Candidate Apologizes for Claiming PhD Title

“In my campaign literature for state assembly, I stated that I have a PhD from USC. While I have finished all of my course work, I technically am only a PhD candidate,” said Cristina Garcia, a candidate in the 58th Assembly District race whose academic qualifications and titles have become an issue in the race.

Garcia, who previously ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Bell Gardens City Council, became an outspoken voice for “Basta!,” an anti-corruption group in the city of Bell, where a number of elected and appointed city officials were forced out of office as part of corruption probe and recall campaign.

During the recall, challengers to the incumbents supported by Basta demanded greater transparency in government.

Garcia released the statement on Oct. 11 along with copies of her USC transcripts.

“I have yet to finish the final process of my PhD, which is defending my dissertation. I will fulfill that final responsibility in the near future,” Garcia explained.

Garcia said she “humbly” apologizes for “using the term PhD instead of PhD candidate” in her campaign material.

She goes on to explain that she completed her class work in 2009 and took her exams to receive the PhD in Public Administration…

“Again, I ask forgiveness and understanding of all the voters of the 58th Assembly District. I remain dedicated to helping to provide the people I hope to serve with government that is transparent and ethical.”

The 58th Assembly district includes the cities of Bell Gardens, Montebello, Commerce, Downey, Artesia, Santa Fe Springs, Pico Rivera, and Norwalk.

Garcia’s opponent is republican candidate Patricia Kotze-Ramos.  Garcia and Kotze-Ramos received more votes than incumbent Tom Calderon in the June 2012 primary election.