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Endorsement: Send Menjivar, Carrillo and McKinnor to Sacramento

Democrats Caroline Menjivar, Juan Carrillo and Tina McKinnor are running for state Legislature.
(Credits from left: Caroline Menjivar, Juan Carrillo, Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

It’s a year of change in Sacramento.

After several years without much turnover in the state Legislature, 2022 saw an unusual number of resignations and retirements. Several lawmakers quit before their terms were up, while others chose not to run for reelection or are not able to because of term limits. The once-a-decade process of redrawing political boundaries to reflect population shifts also played a role in the churn, as some lawmakers found themselves drawn into less favorable districts and decided not to run.

It all adds up to an opportunity for voters. The Nov. 8 election will usher in a new group of lawmakers who could serve in the Legislature for the next dozen years. We believe these three candidates should be among them.

The L.A. Times’ editorial board endorsements for statewide ballot measures, elected offices in Los Angeles city and county, L.A. Unified School District board, L.A. county superior court, statewide offices, the state Legislature and U.S. House and Senate seats.

Senate District 20: Caroline Menjivar

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Menjivar has an impressive track record that combines on-the-ground experience serving her community with academic training in public policy.

She’s served as a U.S. Marine, an emergency medical technician, a Los Angeles City Hall field representative and now, as a director of new program initiatives for MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity), a Pacoima nonprofit that provides food and support to needy families. The child of immigrants from El Salvador, Menjivar has organized vaccine clinics, helped tenants apply for rental assistance and worked to put Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “green new deal” into action by creating campaigns promoting community gardens and electric car rentals to Spanish-speaking residents. As a member of the LGBTQ community, she’s also volunteered with gay-rights and veterans organizations.

Menjivar demonstrates knowledge on a variety of policy issues and is eager to work on legislation addressing mental healthcare, which she calls her top priority. On housing, she supports building more units along transit corridors, and says she’d work to encourage better use of vacant property and more mixed-use developments.

Much of the political establishment and many powerful interest groups are supporting Menjivar’s opponent, fellow Democrat Daniel Hertzberg. He has less experience in public service but benefits from a name that is well-known in the San Fernando Valley. His father, Bob Hertzberg, represented the area in the Assembly and Senate and is now running to represent it on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

But experience counts more than a family name, which is why Menjivar deserves voters’ support.

Elect Rob Bonta to a full term as California attorney general.

Assembly District 39: Juan Carrillo

Palmdale City Councilman Juan Carrillo has valuable experience that has prepared him to help tackle two of California’s most pressing issues: housing and education.

He’s a city planner who wants to see the state produce more housing by 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 home construction. A Democrat, he’s pushed for more infill housing in his own city and 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.

On public education, Carrillo has a record of resolving conflicts and improving communication when there was tension over a charter school in his community. His even-handed leadership on the Palmdale School Board earned him endorsements from two organizations that are often at odds: the California Teachers Assn. and the California Charter Schools Assn. — an indication that as an assemblyman, he would be able to listen to all sides and work in the best interest of the public.

Carrillo’s opponent, Republican Paul Marsh, is a mortgage broker who lacks public policy experience. Voters would be best served by sending Carrillo to Sacramento.

Ma is regarded as a hardworking and innovative elected official, but troubling missteps cast a cloud over her first term.

Assembly District 61: Tina McKinnor

McKinnor won an Assembly seat in a special election in June, when voters on the Westside of Los Angeles and portions of the South Bay chose her to replace former Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, who quit the Legislature mid-term to join a lobbying firm. McKinnor has held office for just two months and is now running for her first full term.

During her short time in the Assembly, McKinnor has proved to be a solid progressive vote. She supported ambitious climate legislation that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law, including a bill to require buffer zones around new oil and gas wells and a bill setting targets for generating clean energy in 2035 and 2040, before the state must get all its electricity from renewable sources by 2045. She also voted for gun-control and environmental bills that failed in the Assembly because of opposition from moderate Democrats, including an important gun safety bill establishing a new system for licensing concealed-carry permits and legislation ramping up California’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Those votes showed that Democrats are not all the same. McKinnor’s opponent, fellow Democrat Robert Pullen-Miles, has received campaign donations from oil companies that typically flow to politicians who are weak on fighting climate change. McKinnor is the better choice.


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