It’s Official: Becerra New State Atty. Gen.

January 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Following confirmation by the State Assembly and Senate, Xavier Becerra was sworn in by Gov. Jerry Brown Tuesday as California’s new attorney general.

The now former Democratic congressman from the 34th District in Los Angeles—who officially resigned his congressional seat on Tuesday—replaces fellow Democrat Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in November.

Becerra took the oath of office during a joint session of the State Legislature, where Gov. Brown delivered his annual State of the State address, that turned out to be a fiery promise to fight any policies from the Trump Administration that threaten California.

“It is humbling and exciting to assume responsibility for vigorously advancing the forward-leaning values that make California unique among the many states,” Becerra said following his Senate confirmation. “I’m eager to get to work. Gov. Brown and state legislators have already shared valuable ideas on our path forward. And next week I hope to sit down with sheriffs from across our state to begin our work together keeping our families safe and enforcing our laws fairly.”

“Under a new presidential administration, our nation will be entering uncharted waters. I know that Xavier will vigorously defend the values that Californians hold dear,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “He will defend and expand California’s reputation as a national leader on voting rights, consumer and environmental protection, and civil rights. And, he will ensure that all Californians, minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, and vulnerable populations enjoy equal protection under the law.”

Becerra represented his Los Angeles County district in Congress since 1993. Prior to that he was an Assemblyman and a deputy state attorney general. He was also chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

“Xavier has been an outstanding public servant — in the state Legislature, the U.S. Congress and as a deputy attorney general,” Brown said when he appointed Becerra to the post in December. “I’m confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change.”

Becerra will serve the final two years of Harris’ term and becomes California’s first Hispanic attorney general. His congressional seat will be filled by a special election that will include an April 4 primary and June 6 general election.

Race to Replace Becerra in Congress Off to a Fast Start

December 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles City Councilmen Jose Huizar and Gil Cedillo said Monday they will not run to fill the congressional seat expected to be vacated by Rep. Xavier Becerra’s appointment as state attorney general, while state Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, former Assembly Speaker John Pérez and journalist and activists Wendy Carrillo have all announced their intentions to run.

“After careful consideration and much discussion with my wife Richelle and family, we have decided not to run for the 34th Congressional seat,” Huizar said Monday morning, adding “There is a considerable amount of work for me to complete here locally in the great City of Los Angeles and California.”

Cedillo released a statement later in the day saying that while he’s “humbled and honored by the number of calls and messages asking him to run,” he has decided that “at this point in our country’s history, the best place for me to be is right here in Los Angeles, continuing to fight every day to improve the lives of Angelenos …”

“As a Los Angeles City Councilmember, I am uniquely positioned to fight for the rights of our immigrant communities, which have once again come under attack,” he said in a written statement.

Meanwhile, Gomez has already set up a Crowdpac campaign fundraising website where he’s posted his decision to run.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, surrounded by state leaders during a press conference in Boyle Heights earlier this year. Becerra has been appointed to replace Kamala Harris as Attorney General.  (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Rep. Xavier Becerra, surrounded by state leaders during a press conference in Boyle Heights earlier this year. Becerra has been appointed to replace Kamala Harris as Attorney General. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Gomez said he hopes to “continue Congressman Becerra’s excellent record of representation” and to advocate for working families, by “protecting the most vulnerable among us, and standing up to the corporate interests trying to game the system.” He called the congressional seat “a once in a lifetime chance to stand up and fight for our values, our rights, and make sure that the Trump Republican party does not have a free hand in Washington.”

Gomez lives in Eagle Rock and was just elected to his third term in the Legislature.

Pérez was the first candidate to jump into the race, declaring his intention to run less than hour after Becerra’s appointment was announced by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Pérez spent four of his six years in the Assembly as speaker, the body’s ranking and most powerful position. Brown appointed Pérez to the University of California Board of Regents in 2014.

“I’m running for Congress to take these California values and our state’s visionary approach to the national level,” Pérez said in a statement. “California needs leadership who will stand up against Donald Trump, but also leadership that will fight for the poor, the middle class, for job creation, and for a vision that can help us win all across the country.”

He has already garnered some high profile endorsements, including from his cousin, former Los Angeles mayor and candidate for governor Antonio Villaraigosa, along with Rep. Karen Bass of Los Angeles, state Sen. Holly Mitchell and state Controller Betty Yee who defeated him in the race or controller in 2014.

The 34th Congressional District is very diverse, and covers much of Downtown Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Highland Park/Garvanza, Boyle Heights, City Terrace, Echo Park, El Sereno, Glassell Park, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Lincoln Heights, Mt. Washington, Montecito Heights, and Westlake/Pico Union.

Journalist and community activist Wendy Carrillo also announced her candidacy Monday in a post on Medium Monday. The Boyle Heights resident most recently served as host and executive producer of the public affairs program “Knowledge is Power” on KPWR radio (Power 106).

“We are living in a moment of urgency. A moment in which our country is demanding new vision, leadership and courage,” she writes. “It is obvious with the results of our recent presidential election that the same establishment ‘politics as usual’ don’t work anymore…” said Carrillo, a Salvadoran immigrant brought to the country illegally as a child who became a U.S. citizen when she was 21.

“Large segments of this country have been ignored by our representatives in Washington DC. The 34th Congressional District is no different,” Carrillo said.

On Wednesday, Estevan Montemayor, director of communications for first-term Los Angeles Councilman David Ryu, told City News Service, that his boss is exploring the option of running but had no public comment at this time. Ryu has only represented Council District Four since June 2015, when he became the first Korean-American to serve on the City Council.

L.A. Unified School Board Member Monica Garcia’s name was also floated as a possible contender, or a possible candidate for Gomez’ seat if he’s elected.

Brown appointed Becerra on Thursday to succeed fellow Democrat Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last month.

If confirmed by the state Senate and Assembly – as expected – Becerra will serve the final two years of Harris’ term and become California’s first Latino attorney general.

In announcing his decision not to run, Huizar said he hopes Becerra’s successor will be “community focused.”

“The change we need in our federal government begins with an agenda that listens to the average person and steers away from politics as usual. The stakes are high. President-elect Donald Trump’s threat to our core Democratic values of social justice and civil rights is very real.”

A special election would then be held to fill Becerra’s congressional seat.

 

 

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