In what\u2019s seen as a pivotal race in the state Democratic Party\u2019s bid to win a legislative majority that can pass a budget without Republican support, former California Public Utilities Commission member Carl Wood is running hard to unseat Republican Paul Cook in the 65th Assembly District. Cook--a former Marine colonel who represents a wide swath of the increasingly economically distressed Inland Empire in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties--is a strong advocate for increased law enforcement, enhancing military benefits, and cutting state spending to balance the budget. Wood was an anti-Viet Nam War activist in college. He began his career as an industrial electrician and became a labor leader. Governor Gray Davis appointed him to the CPUC in 1999, where he sought to keep the electricity industry regulated and widen consumer protections for utility customers. He notes that the 65th District \u201cfinds itself facing an energy intensive economy dependent on long commutes, residential development in hot climate zones, and energy-intensive commercial and industrial facilities.\u201d To help put the area on a sounder energy footing, Wood backs \u201caggressive deployment\u201d of energy efficiency technologies and integration of \u201clocal renewable sources\u201d into the power grid. Cook has been largely silent on energy matters. However, a California League of Conservation Voters analysis shows he has voted against numerous measures to cut greenhouse gases, promote renewable energy and alternative fuels, and advance green building.