A woman who alleged that former Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra harassed her co-worker when he was a top legislative staffer says she’ll run for the district seat he vacated.
San Fernando resident Yolanda Anguiano, a Democrat who works for a nonprofit and served as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s appointee on a planning commission, filed fundraising papers this week to run to replace Bocanegra in Assembly District 39 in April.
Bocanegra resigned in November after The Times detailed the accounts of six women who said they faced unwanted sexual attention or unwelcome communication from him.
Anguiano wasn’t one of the women who said they’d been harassed by Bocanegra. She did tell The Times that Bocanegra, then a chief of staff, harassed her co-worker Jennifer Borobia when they all worked for then-Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes.
Borobia claimed Bocanegra repeatedly asked her out beginning in 2009. Anguiano said Borobia told her about the unwanted attention.
After The Times published a story about how Bocanegra had been disciplined by the state Legislature in 2009 after allegedly groping another woman, Borobia and Anguiano filed complaints with the Assembly Rules Committee about Bocanegra’s behavior when they worked with him.
When preparing a report on their allegations, The Times asked Anguiano if she had political aspirations to seek his Assembly seat. She said at the time she didn’t intend to run.
Bocanegra, a Democrat, announced his resignation in November when The Times presented him with claims from Borobia, Anguiano and others. Bocanegra’s resignation statement said he was “not perfect,” but also cited “political opportunism.”
Anguiano acknowledged in a more recent interview that she could face criticism for running after filing the complaint about the assemblyman.
“People are going to say what they want,” Anguiano said.
She said she changed her mind after community members urged her to run. The district, which includes the neighborhoods of Sylmar, Pacoima and North Hollywood, needs a representative who will be an advocate for women, she said.
Other candidates who’ve filed fundraising papers in the District 39 election include former Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, who ousted Bocanegra in a surprise 2014 contest and then was defeated in a 2016 rematch.
Bonnie Corwin, an activist who protested outside Bocanegra’s office last fall and called on him to resign, also filed fundraising papers.
The initial filings allow candidates to raise money. Those seeking to get on the ballot have from Jan. 20 to Feb. 8 to file declarations of candidacy.
Harassment allegations have rocked the state Capitol, prompting the resignations of Bocanegra and Assemblyman Matt Dababneh. Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) announced this week that he would take a leave of absence amid accusations of inappropriate sexual advances.