Two dozen state Assembly races dot Los Angeles County this year.
From the eastern edges of the county, where Pomona bridges the Inland Empire, to the coast — where political newcomers are trying to make their mark — voters will have to decide which candidates will best represent them in the state Assembly during the Nov. 8 general election.
In many ways, assemblymembers are among the most visible elected leaders beyond local city councils and school boards.That’s because their votes in the Legislature set the direction for the entire state — on everything from public safety to the environment to public schools.
Here is a roundup of the Assembly races in LA County. For those who need help matching their district to a given race, check out this helpful map, www.wedrawthelinesca.org/final_maps.
34th District: This district’s area is immense, stretching from Lancaster and Palmdale to Barstow and east. Assemblyman Tom Lackey rose through local elected offices in Northern L.A. County to ultimately become the High Desert region’s assemblyman, representing an area that captures parts of LA, Kern and San Bernardino counties. The Republican’s career in the Assembly has been fueled by this platform against higher taxes. But his scope has been broader than that, ranging from his efforts to combat drugged driving and push for increased state funding to support programs for people with developmental disabilities. He also emphasizes his zeal to fight special interests and protect public safety. Assemblyman Thurston “Smitty” Smith touts himself as a “constitutional conservative,” who rose from local politics in town of Hesperia to the Assembly. He says he is a “regular guy with a big job.” Like his fellow Republican, Lackey, he too says he is fighting special interests in Sacramento, including a battle against fraud and government waste. By cutting government spending and taxes, the state would be able to drive down inflation and grow the economy, he says. He decries the “radical left” in Sacramento who are “defunding” police departments. He also laments COVID-19 mandates and says the state should work with the federal government to tighten border security.
39th District: This newly redrawn district stretches from Palmdale to Victorville, where Democrat and Palmdale City Councilman Juan Carrillo — who touts his position as “the Antelope Valley’s only elected Democratic councilmember.” Carrillo says his values, and his personal story are the right fit to lead California’s new 39th Latino-majority Assembly District. Born in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico, Carrillo came to L.A. when he was a teenager, ultimately earning a master’s degree in public administration from Cal State Northridge. His campaign is rooted in trying in efforts he says he’s been successful in as a councilman — expanding affordable housing, address the homelessness crisis, increase green space, and support local small businesses in recovering from the pandemic. Paul Marsh touts his credentials rooted in his U.S. Army service and his more than 40 years in the High Desert. With a career that began in the mortgage industry, he’s used his experience as a former Victorville planning commissioner and a member of the city of Victorville’s Homelessness Solutions Task Force, according to his bio. If elected, he said he wants to slash regulations to make housing more affordable, cut government spending, reduce the gas tax and shifting funding to law enforcement. He laments what he calls “one-party rule” in Sacramento.
40th District: This race had must-follow potential from the start. Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, is rising star in Republic circles. A third-generation San Fernando Valley resident, she was born in Granada Hills and resides in Santa Clarita. The district encompasses the northern end of the San San Fernando Valley north to Santa Clarita. She has gained fans for working across the aisle as part of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in Sacramento. She’s not shied away from her support from law enforcement and her tough-on-crime approach to public safety. Pilar Schiavo, a Chatsworth resident and Democrat, who has not held an elected position. She’s been a staunch critic of Valladares. She found momentum earlier in the year among voters and supporters such as labor icon Dolores Huerta and labor, nurse and teachers’ associations from communities where she has worked in the past two decades.
- Read LA Daily News Election 2022 coverage here
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- Read Daily Breeze Election 2022 coverage here
- Read Long Beach Press-Telegram coverage here
- Read Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Election 2022 coverage here
- Read Whittier Daily News Election 2022 coverage here
- Read Pasadena Star-News Election 2022 coverage here
41st District: A lifelong resident of Pasadena, Chris Holden is well-known in the area and in the San Gabriel Valley. His record of public office dates back to the late 1990s, when he was elected mayor of Pasadena. As a current assemblymember, Holden touts the California economy, but acknowledges the state can do better. He says it can do better with his leadership championing approaches that help local businesses grow and that create good paying jobs in the region. His policy goals are familiar among the goals of other Democrats — from investments in public education to improving transportation and infrastructure. Challenging him on the ballot is Republican Michael McMahon, who celebrates his lack of political experience, instead leaning on his experience as in law enforcement. McMahon’s platform heavily emphasizes personal rights as “the bedrock of our nation” and laments what he says are “unconstitutional policies” that are being pushed on people. He says he will work to repeal legislation he sees as soft on crime. And like many Republicans this cycle, he is calling for policies that promote parental rights and school choice.
42nd District: This district straddles L.A. and Ventura counties, encompassing Agoura Hills, Simi Valley, and Moorpark. Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, an engineer by training, says she’s got the ability to work across party lines with a goal of policies that create jobs and balance budgets. Once the mayor of Thousand Oaks, the Democrat was first elected to the 44th Assembly District in 2014, and has since touted her legislative work on strengthening cybersecurity policies, tapped funding for the creation of the Cal State Channel Island School of Engineering and mental health services for members of the military. That work has also focused on environmental policy, gun violence prevention and renewable energy. Her opponent, businesswoman Lori Mills, says she has a “6-point plan” to “save California.” Those points revolve around what she says is a “Parents Bill of Rights,” support of law enforcement, mental health investment to deal with homelessness, pushback on what she calls the state’s “tyrannical emergency,” and ending illegal immigration. Mills, a Republican, says she lives by the motto, “People come first” in her work, and she credits this approach as being a vital to her success in business.
43rd District: Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, D-Arleta, is looking for a third term in Sacramento, represent a sizable chunk of much of the San Fernando Valley — in areas such as Pacoima, Lake View Terrace and Sunland-Tujunga. Rivas, a science educator, Democrat and graduate of MIT and Harvard, was first elected to state Assembly District 39 in 2018, then reelected in 2020. Her tenure has seen her appointment to several committees ranging from natural resources to tax and revenue. She points to her family’s working class roots as the foundation for a political career advocating for access to quality education, mostly widening the path for girls in science. Her challenger is Republican Siaka Massaquoi, a small business owner and entertainment industry “veteran” who laments what he says is “one-party rule” in Sacramento. He says it has led to economic problems across the state, which have gotten in the way of people achieving the American dream. He says current homeless policies have missed the mark, adding that they have not focused enough on mental health. Overriding his policy prescriptions is a concern that the state has gone too far in stepping into domains he says have been traditionally defined as the realm of parental rights. He sees the state going too far.
44th District: Laura Friedman, D-43rd, is hoping to continue her work in the newly drawn 44th District, which will encompass Sherman Oaks on the west to Glendale on the east, where issues surrounding affordable housing and the entertainment industry at the forefront. First elected to represent the 43rd District in 2016, she pins her campaign for re-election on the fight to raise the minimum wage, environmental protection and universal healthcare. A leader in the Assembly, she’s pinned her legislative work on housing affordability and homelessness. While new to the political arena, Barry Curtis Jacobsen, a Republican, former Green Beret and small business owner, says the district, city and state are in major need of choice and change. It’s change he says that should be better suited to deal with rising crime, affordable education, taxes that are too onerous.
46th District: Jesse Gabriel, D-Encino, is coming off a win after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed his social media transparency measure requiring social media companies to publicly post their policies regarding hate speech, disinformation, harassment and extremism, and to report enforcement of those policies. The passage was the culmination of Gabriel’s career in the Assembly, which began in 2018 representing the 45th District. Among issues he says he has “championed” are efforts to address homelessness, housing, education and the fight against climate change. But Republican challenger Dana Caruso, a retired LAUSD educator and assistant principal, has focused on public safety. She wants to beef up the ranks of school police at local campuses, expand Neighborhood Watch Programs. She also supports “school choice” policies, which says will improve “a failing school system.”
48th District: Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio’s roots in public office date back to when she was first elected to the Baldwin Park Unified Board of Education in early 2000s. And then came the Assembly, where in the state Legislature she would ultimately join her sister Susan, who is s state senator. The Democrat’s legislative efforts have centered on issues including support for victims of domestic violence, foster youth advocacy and keeping guns out out of the hands of dangerous people. A native of Mexico who would ultimately earn a master’s degree in education, she says her personal roots have have given her an empathy for the immigrant struggle in the U.S. Ryan Maye, a Republican, says it’s time for a change. That change, he says, is fueled by his experience in the Army, where he was deployed twice to Iraq and to Afghanistan, and was decorated for his service, he said. He would move on to earn certifications in automotive mechanics, electrical and culinary arts. Ultimately, he said. he is “pro-life,” Pro-Life, God First, “pro-small business,” and “pro-America First.”
49th District: Assemblyman Mike Fong parachuted into office earlier in the year, winning a special election to fill the Assembly seat left vacant by fellow Democrat Ed Chau. Fong’s previous elected experience was as a trustee on the Los Angeles Community College District board. He touts a long list of community service, buffered with former experience as director of policy and government relations for the city of Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, and as a director for then-L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Much of his Assembly work has centered around priorities such as expanding access to higher education, healthcare and addressing homelessness. Burton Brink touts his experience in law enforcement (since 1967), and community service in Arcadia, as a commissioner. He says Sacramento needs a better balance of power. Like other Republicans running for office, a major goal is to protect businesses from over taxing and regulation. His endorsements include the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Professional Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County (PPOA), San Gabriel Police Officers’ Association, Chinese American Alliance, and the Los Angeles Hispanic Republican Club. The district stretches from Monterey Park to Arcadia.
51st District: In this newly drawn district, there are fresh faces running — both from the left. Democrats Louis Abramson and Rick Chavez Zbur are vying for a district seat that will represent an area stretching from Santa Monica to Hollywood. Abramson, who has a doctoral degree in astrophysics, touts his scientific credentials and his work leading on issues in his neighborhood. Those, he said, give him the skills to tackle policy on housing, homelessness and climate change. Zbur touts his own academic credentials, which led to a career in law, where he advocated on environmental justice and governmental issues. His work as activist also led him to calling for the government to act during the AIDS crisis, which also informs his advocacy on civil rights.
52nd District: This majority Latino voting district encompasses Highland Park, parts of Glendale, Echo Park and Lincoln Heights. Mia Livas Porter, a parent and environmental advocate, is playing up her progressive credentials when it comes to her platform stances, such as seeking policies that prevent gun Violence, strengthening public schools, advocating for the Green New Deal, single-payer healthcare, and for policies that “maintain the dignity of our unhoused neighbors.” She says her parents’ immigrant Filipino roots instilled in her the idea of prioritizing people over profit. Wendy Carrillo was elected to the Assembly in 2017, with an emphasis on advocacy of education, immigration reform, environmental justice, healthcare for all, job creation and innovation. She too knows the immigrant story, and has weaved into her work. She immigrated to the United States as a child during El Salvador’s civil war. A first generation American with Salvadoran and Mexican heritage, her work in the Assembly includes as chair of the Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration and she serves on the Appropriations, Budget, Housing and Community Development, Health, and Utilities and Energy committees.
53rd District: The district bridges eastern L.A. County with western San Bernardino County, where the winner here will represent areas including Pomona on the west to Ontario. Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez touts his roots in Pomona, along with a background as an “emergency responder.” His elected career is rooted in his time as a city council member in Pomona, which grew into the Democrat’s election to the Assembly in 2013. That tenure included his advocacy for local control of the Ontario International Airport and extending Metro light rail into San Bernardino County. That advocacy has also revolved around public safety policies. Republican Toni Holle is once again challenging Rodriguez with a message that is decidedly pro-business, which during the pandemic was centered on getting employees back to work. Holle is a fiscal conservative and has pushed back on Rodriguez’s votes on vaccinations. Her stance appears similar to other Republicans running for office this cycle and, particularly in terms of her promotion of “parental rights” and her anti-abortion stance. She has been endorsed by the California Republican Party.
54th District: A heavily Latino voter majority district, it extends from Boyle Heights on the west to Montebello on the east. Assemblyman Miguel Santiago was first elected to the Assembly in 2014 to represent the then 53rd. Then, like today, the Democrat touts his working class roots in Los Angeles, where his immigrant parents raised him. His policy priorities revolved around higher education, pathways that seek to deal with student debt, housing for the homeless, expanded childcare and battling anti-immigrant policies. He touts his work to leverage funding to revamp the 6th Street Bridge and to create new bike lanes and green space. Elaine Alaniz sees current state policy only adding to what she calls a “new normal” for L.A. She laments rising crime, inflation, homelessness, public health mandates, which says are “unacceptable,” she says. She too highlights her humble roots. Born in inner-city Houston, Texas, she was raised by a single mom, who she says taught her resilience. At the core of the Republican’s policy priorities education and trade preparation, economy, health and public safety and community development. Endorsements include the California Republican Party and the L.A. County Republican Party, according to her website.
55th District: As founder of the UCLA Black Policy Project, now Assemblyman Isaac Bryan, D-Culver City, says his experience leading policy on racial equity, and forming coalitions for justice, has made him an effective leader. It was such experience that buoyed his leadership on the Measure J campaign in Los Angeles County, a ballot measure allocating hundreds of millions of dollars a year to address community investment and alternatives to incarceration. His legislative work has centered around housing policy, economic inclusion and racial equity. His opponent, Keith Cascio, a Mar Vista Republican, laments government spending and has called for an audit of every state department. On the environment, Cascio — chair of the 54th AD GOP Central Committee and a member of LAGOP — says economic growth and protection of the environment aren’t mutually exclusive. And on public safety, he says reducing crime requires improving economic opportunity in low-income areas. The district stretches from Playa Vista through Culver City to Park La Brea.
56th District: Lisa Calderon is coming off her first term as assemblywoman, having been elected in 2020 to represent the current 57th District, which spans portions of Southeast Los Angeles County and the San Gabriel Valley. In her time on the Legislature, her work has supported legislation that established a foundation for harnessing offshore wind off the California coast, and she touts her efforts at legislation to protect respiratory health from the threat of wildfires. That work has also revolved around support for homeless students and foster youth. If the name is familiar, it’s because she follows a long line of Democrats in the state Legislature with a Calderon last name. Jessica Martinez, a Whittier City Councilwoman is once again challenging Calderon for the seat, which, come the new term, will be the 56th under redistricting. Martinez has long championed a Republican platform, despite being a blue district, dating back to her first challenge to Calderon for the 2020 race. That has meant a solidly pro-business, anti-regulation, and anti-tax policy outlook, along with being strongly against shifting funding away from law enforcement. It was that kind of support that she says gained her the endorsement of the Whittier Police Officers Association. In Jan. 2021, Whittier council members voted against censuring her for her attendance at the “stop the steal” rally last week in Washington, D.C. The new district includes the cities of Diamond Bar, El Monte, Industry, La Habra Heights, La Puente, Pico Rivera, South El Monte, Walnut, Whittier and unincorporated areas of Avocado Heights, Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles, Rowland Heights and West Whittier-Los Nietos.
57th District: Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer is running unopposed on the ballot for the district, which represents a swath of South Los Angeles. His policy priorities are familiar among Democrats, from beefing up public education to access to affordable healthcare. Policy prescriptions also include justice reform and the labor advocacy, including support for increasing the state minimum wage.
61st District: This district extends from LAX on the west through Inglewood on the north and Hawthorne on the south, east to Westmont and West Athens. And two Democrats are vying for it. Assemblywoman Tina Simone McKinnor is looking to stay in the Assembly after winning a special election to replace the suddenly retiring Autumn Burke in the 62nd District. McKinnor says she’s mindful that citizens are “demanding new approaches on issues such community safety and immigration, and she says her experience as a small business owner, the civic engagement director for LA VOICE and co-founder of the Lawndale Democratic Club make her the best choice. She beat Robert Pullen-Miles, Lawndale’s first Black mayor, in the special election. For a time, he was back again to challenge her for the redrawn seat. But he has stopped campaigning — and has endorsed McKinnor.
62nd District: Assemblyman Anthony Rendón became the state’s 70th speaker of the California Assembly in 2016. It marked a big moment for the second-generation Mexican-American and former adjunct political science professor at Cal State Fullerton. It was also big for his 63rd District constituents in areas like Bell, Maywood, part of Long Beach and Lakewood. His tenure has borne fruit, he said, from passing on-time state budgets to increasing the state minimum wage. He wants to stay in the Assembly, now running for the 62nd District, touting his advocacy for early child education programs, water quality policy and union endorsements. Maria Estrada, also a Democrat, has dug in on her challenge to Rendon, planting that challenge on her policy vision of environmental justice, single-payer healthcare, a and corruption in local government. She was a candidate for District 63 in 2018 and lost her bid that November. She is leaning in n her roots in Gardena, raised by Mexican immigrant parents, according Ballotpedia. She says rent control is needed to fight against homelessness, and she says that if banks can be bailed out so should citizens who unpaid rent.
64th District: The first Latina to serve as Downey mayor, Blanca Pacheco, a Democrat, wants to parlay her mayoral skills and experience into representing the 64th, which stretches from Bell and Bell Gardens through Downey and Norwalk and into La Mirada and La Habra. Pacheco says if elected to the Assembly, she would push for livable wages, workers’ rights and policies that encourage better-paying middle class jobs. Republican Raul Ortiz Jr. has pegged his campaign on reducing taxes and state regulations, while reducing what he says is “wasteful spending.” He is decidedly pro-business in his policy prescriptions, seeking a California that better attracts incoming businesses. He also wants to suspend the gas tax, which he says will have an immediate impact on people’s pocketbooks. On crime and pubic safety, he said he would work on policy that would “reverse” the effects of Prop. 47, the measure that reclassified some crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.
65th District: This district stretches from San Pedro through West Carson and into Compton and Willowbrook. Latino voters make up the majority of voters in this district, but African Americans voters are also robust in number. The race for this pairs to Democrats – incumbent Mike Anthony Gispon and challenger Fatima Iqbal-Zubair. Gipson was first elected in 2014, focusing on policy that sought to improve public education, expand healthcare access and deal with homelessness while enacting criminal justice reform. The former Carson city councilmember grew up in Watts, where he says his parents instilled values of faith, good education and giving back. Iqbal-Zubair says the status quo is not working, whether it’s on homeless policy or infrastructure. Progressive in tone and with an emphasis on equity, her policy priorities include the need to urgently work on guaranteeing “healthcare justice,” cleaning up local air and water, strengthening of workers’ rights and “housing for all.” Iqbal-Zubair was born in Dubai, and ultimately migrated to the U.S. with her family in an effort to find a safe haven from the Gulf War. She taught chemistry and environmental sciences in Watts, where she fostered success leading a robotics team.
66th District: The 66th stretches encompasses Redondo, Manhattan and Hermosa beaches, Torrance and Rancho Palos Verdes, where Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, a Democrat, says he continues to push for increased per-pupil spending in education, battle offshore oil-drilling interests and advance legislation that promotes the area’s aerospace hub. Maratsuchi is a former state deputy attorney general and former Torrance School Board members. Challenging him George Barks, a former Hermosa Beach councilman and mayor. He has called himself a problem-solver who has worked across party designations for solutions. But like many Republicans, he’s opposed to diverting money away from law enforcement agencies to social programs, and in fact wants to see it increased. Barks said that amid the toll of the pandemic and increased inflation, he wants to eliminate the gas tax and reset state priorities.
67th District: The district bridges L.A. and Orange counties, where whoever wins will represent an area from Artesia and Cerritos to Buena Park and Cypress. Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Democrat, has tried to emphasize bridge-building in her campaign — where she says “solutions” best come when people are not driven apart. A teacher by trade, her policy priorities revolve around education, expansion of affordable healthcare, infrastructure, veteran advocacy and housing market. Soo Yoo emphasizes her immigrant roots, and her Korean parents’ struggle to “achieve the American dream.” She would ultimately find her way to elected office on the ABC Unified School District Board. Yoo, a Republican, says if elected to the Assembly, she would strive to lower the cost of living, push for more support for public safety, “and making sure our students get the kind of education they deserve.”
69th District: This is the new district where the Queen Mary rests, and which stretches from its home in Long Beach through to Carson. Democrat Josh Lowenthal touts his business success in tech and telecom startups as representative of his ability to generate jobs. On homelessness, he says he would work in the Assembly to ensure that state budget surpluses fund housing and treatment. If the last name is familiar, his father is Alan Lowenthal, the veteran congressman who represents the area, and who announced earlier this year he would retire at the end of his term. Before Congress, Alan, too, served in the state Legislature. Al Austin, a Long Beach city councilman and a Democrat, touts his credentials working across barriers to bring together diverse interests “to get things done.” Among his public accomplishments as an elected official, he says he’s worked to protect renters by pushing for more than $5 million in emergency rental assistance during the pandemic. He also his public work trying to increase access to housing by facilitating the development of more than 200 new homes and ensuring affordable units is evidence of his policy priorities.