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Endorsement: Send Juan Carrillo to Sacramento to represent Antelope Valley in the state Assembly

A portrait of Juan Carrillo.
Juan Carrillo is an urban planner and longtime resident of Palmdale who has served on the school board and now sits on the City Council.
(Courtesy of Juan Carrillo)

Voters in the Antelope Valley are gaining new representation in the state Assembly this year as a result of the once-a-decade process of redrawing political boundaries. The state’s independent redistricting commission split the region in two, creating a competitive race in the new 39th Assembly District that stretches from the east side of Lancaster and Palmdale into San Bernardino County.

The field of four candidates in the June 7 primary includes two who are very strong. Juan Carrillo is an urban planner and longtime resident of Palmdale who has served on the school board and now sits on the City Council. Andrea Rosenthal is a community organizer who moved to the Antelope Valley a few years ago, drawn by volunteer work on a political campaign and staying because she says she fell in love with the region. Both are Democrats who demonstrate knowledge on a range of policy issues and a passion for public service.

Republican Paul Andre Marsh did not respond to our request for an interview, and Democrat Steve Fox is undeserving of voters’ support. Fox’s troubled track record as an Assembly member from 2012 to 2014 included harassment allegations by one staff member who said he exposed himself to her, and claims by another that he forced her to do unpaid work for his private business. The Assembly paid out more than $200,000 to settle the two complaints.

We believe Carrillo is the better choice in this race. His experience as a city planner and with public schools has prepared him to help craft thoughtful statewide policy on two of the most pressing issues in California: housing and education.

Here are the L.A. Times’ editorial board endorsements for elected offices in Los Angeles city and county, LAUSD, superior court, statewide offices, the state legislature and U.S. House and Senate seats.

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State lawmakers are well aware that California doesn’t have enough housing, yet they have struggled to pass laws to stimulate more development. One challenge is a disconnect between state policymakers looking at the big picture, and local authorities who plan for new homes block-by-block in California’s varied communities. Carrillo’s experience as a planner in the cities of Desert Hot Springs, Coachella and Palmdale will make him a valuable addition to the Legislature, which is short on lawmakers with such on-the-ground housing expertise.

He supports policies allowing duplexes in residential areas, making it easier for homeowners to build accessory dwelling units on their properties and giving the state more power to ensure that cities are meeting targets for new home construction. He understands that California’s fight against climate change is tied to how homes are built and how cities are designed, demanding more solar panels on rooftops and better public transportation to get cars off the road. As a member of the Palmdale City Council, Carrillo successfully pushed for more infill housing.

On education, Carrillo brings important personal and professional accomplishments. During his time on the Palmdale School Board, Carrillo helped resolve a conflict with a local charter school and organized monthly meetings to facilitate better communication between the community and the district. His even-handed leadership earned him endorsements from two organizations that are often at odds: the California Teachers Assn. and the California Charter Schools Assn. The Legislature needs more lawmakers who are not stuck in one camp on education policy, and Carrillo’s record indicates an ability to listen to all sides and work in the best interest of the public.

Carrillo says his experience with public education drew him into public service. After arriving in California from Mexico at age 15, Carrillo went to work as a dishwasher and a construction worker. He attended school at night to learn English and eventually earned a GED. He went on to study architecture at community college and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at California State University. Public education allowed Carrillo to achieve the American dream, and now he wants to pay it forward by ensuring that California kids continue to get those opportunities.

Voters should send Carrillo to Sacramento so he can contribute his valuable perspectives to the state Assembly.

Read more endorsements at: latimes.com/endorsements.


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