Two young Democrats square off over East L.A. Assembly district

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When Gil Cedillo ran for reelection in an Assembly district representing much of East Los Angeles two years ago, he received 83.4% of the vote in the runoff, trouncing Republican Suzanne Olivos.

But Cedillo is prevented from running for the seat again because of term limits, and voters in the area face a more competitive Assembly race Nov. 6 thanks to the new top-two primary system.


This time, two Democrats with similar backgrounds and ideology are vying in the general election for the 51st Assembly District, which includes most of Cedillo’s old district.

Jimmy Gomez, an Echo Park resident who is political director for the United Nurses Assns. of California, is competing against Luis Lopez, an Eagle Rock resident who is on leave as communications director for the nonprofit AltaMed Health Services. Both men have a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Lopez, 39, is president of the East Area Planning Commission and co-founded the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council. ‘I have a decades-long record of service in this area,’ Lopez said, adding expanding jobs and healthcare are priorities.

Gomez, 37, is an adjunct faculty member with Los Angeles Trade Tech, He said he wants to see the state reinvest in community colleges and ‘fight to extend healthcare coverage to make it more affordable.’'

Gomez leads in fundraising, having spent $568,700 during the first nine months of the year, about twice what Lopez spent. Gomez has the backing of the California Democratic Party and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Lopez’s backers include Equality California and Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino). Adding to the interest level, Cedillo has not endorsed either candidate in the general election.


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento