51st State Assembly candidates to face off in debate as election nears

Wendy Carrillo and Luis Lopez

GLASSELL PARK — 51st Assembly District candidates Wendy Carrillo and Luis Lopez are scheduled to debate each other on Wednesday, Nov. 15  less than three weeks before the runoff election.

Carrillo, a community activist, and Lopez, a healthcare director, were among the 13 primarily liberal and Democratic candidates who ran in the primary race. Carrillo garnered about 22.16% of the vote while Lopez captured 18.59%.

The runoff election will be held on Dec. 5.

Last month in an earlier debate in Highland Park,  the candidates discussed their views on health care, the housing crisis, gentrification, excessive force used by the LAPD, sexual harassment and environmental issues.

Both candidates seemed to agree on the easy topics: more women are needed in positions of power in not only politics but all organizational levels, the current health care system is “certainly not perfect” but there is a need to preserve and improve it, solutions to affordable housing require creative thinking and that charter schools are now part of the public education and are a force to be reckoned with.

District 51 Candidates Debate

  • Wednesday, Nov. 15 | 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
  • Sotomayor Learning Academies, 2050 N. San Fernando Rd.
  • Moderated by the League of Women Voters

This year’s election was called after former Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for California’s 34th District. Gomez was the winner of a special election to replace Xavier Becerra, who left Congress to become Attorney General of California.

The 51st Assembly District covers most of the Eastside, stretching from Echo Park and Silver Lake on the west, Eagle Rock and Highland Park on the north and El Sereno and unincorporated East Los Angeles on the east.

The next debate is scheduled for Nov. 21 at Cal State L.A.

Here are more details about each candidate:

Wendy Carrillo is one of the candidates for the California 51st Assembly District

Wendy Carrillo

Wendy Carrillo

Wendy Carrillo first came to the United States as an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador when she was a child, according to the biography on her campaign web site. She grew up in in Boyle Heights and City Terrace, becoming a labor leader with SEIU Local 2015, leading communications and organizing efforts for long-term care workers. She has also worked as a radio and digital journalist and producer. She is currently on the advisory board of Vision to Learn, a non-profit that provides student with free glasses.

Carrillo also ran in the primary last April to replace Rep. Xavier Becerra in Congress. She received about 5 percent of the vote, coming in sixth out of 20 candidates.

Luis Lopez is one of the 51st Assembly District candidates

Luis Lopez

Luis Lopez

Probably the earliest starter in this race, Lopez declared his candidacy for the Assembly months ago, before Gomez even won the runoff for Congress. Lopez made his announcement just one day after the primary in April narrowed down the Congressional race to Gomez and Robert Lee Ahn.

Indeed, Lopez has already come close to the job, having lost to Gomez in a runoff in 2012.

Lopez is a former president of the East Area Planning Commission and a former chair of the City Regional Prop K Commission. He built and ran the Latino Coalition Against AIDS, and is a founding board member of Honor PAC, a statewide Latina/o LGBT political action committee.

He has also managed large‐scale data projects for KPMG Consulting Inc. (now Bearing Point, Inc.), and was a Social Science Analyst at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C.

51st State Assembly District | State of California

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  1. As a resident of the district, I have to say that I’m mostly just thrilled to be done with elections for a while after this. I’m so tired of flyers, junk mail, canvassers, robocalls, and surveys.

  2. Luis has been working hard for LBGTQ rights for over a decade in the area and while Wendy seems perfectly fine, she hasn’t 1% of the ties to this community that Luis has. And the fact that all the special interest groups support her is not a good sign. Luis has my vote!

  3. Luis supports public education and is supported by the Sierra Club, so he has my vote!

  4. Philosophically the two candidates do not seem far apart. I like the idea of another woman representing me. That gives Wendy an edge as far as I’m concerned.

    • I was leaning Wendy too because we can all agree that getting more women elected to serve is vitally important. But then I started googling and Wendy’s whole campaign is backed by powerful special interest groups and that concerns me. Both Wendy and Luis talk a good game but I wonder, in light of the oil companies that back her, if she is giving it to us straight.

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