Gomez to Represent 34th in U.S. Congress

June 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez will be sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives later this month after defeating public interest attorney and fellow Democrat Robert Lee Ahn in a special election in the 34th Congressional District.

Gomez, D-Eagle Rock, defeated Ahn, 60.12-39.88 percent, according to semi-official results released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Many outstanding ballots remain to be counted, according to Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan. An update on the ballot count will be released Friday, Logan said.

The results are tentatively scheduled to be certified on June 16,
with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors scheduled to declare the results official on June 20, Logan said.

The special election was prompted by the appointment of then-Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, as attorney general, succeeding Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate. Becerra endorsed Gomez, who said he hopes to “continue to build an inclusive and diverse country that values people from all walks of life.”

Both Gomez and Ahn are sons of immigrants.

At his election headquarters in Highland Park Tuesday night, Gomez called his win a victory for “California values.”

Jimmy Gomez and his supporters celebrate his victory Tuesday. (Jimmy Gomez for Congress)

Jimmy Gomez and his supporters celebrate his victory Tuesday. (Jimmy Gomez for Congress)

“Our communities came together to say ‘yes’ to progressive, California values. It’s been a privilege to run as your candidate and I am honored to be headed to Washington as your next representative in Congress,” Gomez said in statement posted on his campaign website.

You believed in our effort and it made all the difference. And we’re just getting started. I look forward to working with you — here in Los Angeles and in our nation’s capital — to ensure that we make the progress we need and deserve in the days and years to come.”

During the campaign, Gomez said he ran “to fight” President Donald Trump.

“I’ve always believed that in times like these it’s important to run towards the fight and not away from it,” Gomez told City News Service.

“From expanding paid family leave, to leading the nation in the fight against climate change, we’ve demonstrated that progressive values are achievable. In Congress, I will work to build a new progressive coalition that puts our values first.”

Gomez concedes that the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, “was not perfect,” but he said he will fight to protect the gains made through the legislation. He has also called for immigration reform and vows to fight rollbacks by “climate change deniers.”

The assemblyman racked-up the endorsements of a who’s who in state Democratic politics, including Gov. Jerry Brown, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate Leader Kevin De Leon and Sup. Hilda Solis among others. He also earned the endorsement of the California Democratic Party and Our Revolution, a progressive group with roots in the Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign for president, as well as numerous labor groups. United Farmworker co-founder Dolores Huerta was among those who spent the last days before the election working to get the vote out for Gomez.

Gomez was born and raised in Southern California. He graduated from UCLA, then earned a master’s degree in public policy at Harvard University.

Gomez was the political director of the United Nurses Association of California and worked with several other unions, and also worked in the offices of then-Councilman Mike Feuer and then-Rep. Hilda Solis. He was elected to the Assembly in 2012, and re-elected in 2014 and 2016.

In the April 4 primary, Gomez topped the 24-candidate field, collecting roughly 25 percent of the vote, with Ahn second with 22 percent. Because no candidate received a majority, Gomez and Ahn were forced into Tuesday’s runoff.

The district stretches roughly from Koreatown in the west to the Long Beach (710) Freeway in the east and from the Santa Monica (10) Freeway in the south to the Ventura (134) Freeway in the north. It includes downtown Los Angeles, the Westlake district, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights andLincoln Heights.

Ahn, a Korean American, was looking to break through in a traditionally Latino district, saying there has not been a “Korean voice in Congress” for two decades, “and never from the Democratic Party.” He painted himself as a political outsider not beholden to special interests.

A Los Angeles native, Ahn has a law degree from USC and practiced law for a time before at a variety of Southland firms. He later joined his family’s real estate and asset- management business.

Gomez said he spoke to Ahn Tuesday night by phone and “welcomed his congratulations on our victory. I made it clear that his historic run will be remembered and that we will join together to build a stronger Los Angeles for everyone,” Gomez said.

Gomez’s victory creates the need for a special election to fill his Assembly seat. Former Montebello Unified School District Board Member David Vela announced Wednesday he will run for the seat. Community advocate and former 34th congressional district candidate, Wendy Carrillo, has also thrown her hat into the ring.

Following the April 4 primary, in which over half the candidates running for the congressional seat were women, former state senator Martha Escutia called on women to unite behind a single woman candidate, rather than continuing to split the vote. She and others have suggested backing one of the former candidates for congress.

Information from City News Service used in this report.

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