California State Assembly candidates

Laurel Davis | OW Contributor | 11/3/2016, midnight

To help OurWeekly readers make informed voting decisions on November 8th, below are brief profiles on five Black California State Assembly candidates, all incumbents, for districts within Los Angeles County. Each profile includes what each candidate sees as the most important issue or challenge for his or her constituents.

District 41

Candidate: Chris Holden (D)

Opponent: Casey Higgins (R)

Serving: Altadena, Alta Loma, Claremont, La Verne, Monrovia, Pasadena, San Dimas, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, Upland.

Assemblymember Chris Holden was elected in 2012 and 2014. He chairs the Select Committee on Regional Transportation and Interconnectivity Solutions, as well as the California Legislative Black Caucus, among other committees. He is also an Alliance member of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys & Men of Color.

For Holden’s constituents, affordable housing, higher education, and transportation are the biggest concerns. One challenge is extending the Metro Gold Line from Glendora into Montclair, the funding for which he anticipates will be provided for through an L.A. Metro measure on the November 8th ballot.

Higgins’ focus is fiscal responsibility, crime prevention, education, and protecting those who are unable to protect themselves.

District 54

Candidate: Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D)

Opponent: Glen Ratcliff (R)

Serving: Baldwin Hills, Windsor Hills, Ladera Heights, View Park, Crenshaw, Leimert Park, Mid City, Culver City, Mar Vista, Palms, Century City, West Los Angeles

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was elected to the California State Assembly in 2013. He chairs the Select Committee on Mental & Behavioral Health & Prop 63 Implementation and also serves on the Civic Engagement and the Infectious Diseases in High Risk Disadvantaged Communities committees, among others.

Assemblymember Ridley-Thomas’ work has included extending the operation of the Baldwin Hills Conservancy related to open recreational space, authoring legislation to prohibit consumer racial profiling, increasing public contracting opportunities for minority businesses, and expanding access to mental health care.

Ratcliff is anti-Prop 57, pro school choice, supports the hiring of more LAPD officers and County sheriffs and put desk cops on the streets, and is against what he call “oppressive minimum wages and benefits.”

District 59

Candidate: Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr.

Opponent: Unopposed

Serving: South Los Angeles, Florence-Firestone, Walnut Park, and a portion of Huntington Park

Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer was elected in 2012 and 2014. He is Chair of the Public Safety Committee and also serves on the Higher Education, Government Organization, and Agriculture committees. Also, he chairs the Select Committee on Urban Planning and Land Use in Underserved Communities, and co-chairs the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color.

Among the greatest concerns for District 59 are public safety, local school funding, job quality and workers’ rights, and immigrant rights, among others. He has held Legislative Hearings and community forums as the basis for writing laws, implementing programs, and forming alliances to address these issues.

District 62

Candidate: Autumn Burke

Opponents: Marco Antonio Leal (R), Baron Bruno (Other)

Serving: Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale, El Segundo, Gardena, Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Marina del Rey, Venice, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Del Aire, West Athens, Lennox, Westmont