. But we can feel fairly confident about one thing: has given us a new Assembly district in Echo Park and environs.
It’s District 51, where termed-out Gil Cedillo—of the old District 45—won’t be a direct factor.
The new district is a peach. It runs from Silver Lake through Echo Park, and all the way to north to Highland Park and east to City Terrace – merging communities that have changed dramatically over a decade and are likely to do so again.
Click here to download a map of the new District 51. We've also posted a map in the accompanying gallery.
ELECTION IS IN JUNE 2012
The election won’t be until next June. But It’s already attracting aspirants, including Jimmy Gomez, who lives in Echo Park and is currently political director for the United Nurses Association of California.
According to the LA Times he’s already filed his intent to run and raised about $200,000. Democrats Arturo Chavez, an aide to Cedillo, and Luis Lopez, co-chairman of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council are also said to be running.
Gomez has already been endorsed by some labor groups as well as City Council president Eric Garcetti, and Assembly District 43's Mike Gatto.
GOMEZ LIVES IN ECHO PARK
Gomez and I first met at . We hooked up again last week at on Echo Park Avenue.
Gomez lives on Laveta Terrace with his new wife Mary, and he’s keen on Echo Park. “It’s becoming a place that connects you to everywhere,” he says. “Chinatown, Downtown, East L.A.”
Then, gesturing across the coffeehouse, he points out Joe Rubalcaba, a television producer seated near us.
Gomez says the density and diversity of creative folks like Joe also make Echo Park such a special place.
“So how do we use the collective talent of these people to create jobs?” he asks.
GOMEZ SAYS COMMUNITY COLLEGES ARE AN ASSET
One way, Gomez explains, is to make better use of California’s community college system.
“Our three tier college system is one of the best resources for quality, affordable education,” he says. “It’s an important gateway, especially for new Americans.”
The youngest of six children of Mexican immigrants, Gomez attended Riverside Community College. It changed his life.
Ten years later, he had graduated from UCLA and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
As an Assembly member, he says he’s in a good position to help align the community college system with growth industries in California—healthcare, biotech, clean tech and, especially in his district, entertainment—to create jobs.
Gomez also thinks his background at the United Nurses Association will be an asset as the state legislature works to align the state’s private healthcare system with federal guidelines.
GOMEZ HAS A BACKGROUND IN LABOR AND POLITICS
Gomez also has a background in politics—working for Assembly member Mike Feuer, now U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and the Kerry-Edwards campaign,
“There’s no other district I’d rather represent," he says, noting that local constituencies include long-term residents, new arrivals, business owners and people who visit to spend money.
“My goal is to talk to every community in our district,” he adds, “especially people who don’t feel they have a voice.”
Look for our interviews with other District 51 aspirants. They’re coming.