Luis Lopez started getting the calls late last year. First, Governor Jerry Brown selected Eastside Member of Congress Xavier Becerra to fill the vacant office of state Attorney General on December 1. Then Lopez’ representative in the state legislature stepped up to run for Becerra’s seat.
After that, local voters started connecting the dots and saw a path becoming clear for Lopez, a longtime leader on healthcare, affordable housing, and human rights, to seek that legislative seat, should it become open after the contest for Congress.
“I’m a fighter for our communities. Folks know they can trust me to lead our fights for dignity and fairness,” says Lopez, who lives in Eagle Rock. “Since December, I’ve heard from hundreds of neighbors who urged me to consider running to represent our Eastside communities in the state Assembly. I also started hearing from elected officials. Ordinarily I would have said let’s wait and see. But these are not ordinary times.”
Lopez announced April 5 that he will seek the seat representing his 51st Assembly District if a special election for it gets called for this summer. That will happen if current Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez wins the June 6 special election for Congress, opening up his seat.
Lopez’ announcement came amid a series of hostile maneuvers by the Trump Administration and Republicans on Capitol Hill. They moved to deny federal funds to cities that block arbitrary enforcement of federal immigration policies, to take away the Affordable Care Act and healthcare for 14 million Americans, to remove federal guidelines that protect transgender students from discrimination at school, and to restrict access to family planning and reproductive healthcare for millions of American women.
All of these actions deeply trouble Lopez, especially because of his role in advocating and implementing several components of California’s gains on healthcare access, affordability, and quality; housing; and human rights over the past two decades.
“I cannot allow our progress as a state to be threatened by a bully. Like any bully, when we stand up together, smartly, and with courage, we can prevail,” says Lopez. He has worked as a nonprofit healthcare director for the past 15 years and served for the past 7 as an officer of the board of Planned Parenthood-Los Angeles.
“Women, workers, seniors, immigrants, people with disabilities, children, my own LGBT community, Muslims, artists, scientists: the Republicans are attacking all of us,” he adds. “Good leadership, great policy, and stronger civic participation are the best responses. That’s the vision I bring to the legislature. This is not a time for waiting for change to come. It’s a time to work hard, build coalitions, and make California a model for putting people first and creating a more humane, equitable, and sustainable future.”
Lopez has already earned endorsements for the Assembly from California state Controller Betty Yee; state Senator Anthony Portantino; and L.A. city council member Mitch O’Farrell, who is openly gay and the first ever Native American to serve Angelenos in elected office; and Jackie Goldberg, the openly lesbian former Assemblymember who also broke ground for the LGBT community when she served as president of the L.A. school board in the 1990s.
Lopez has deep roots and a long record of service in the district he’s seeking to represent. Born in its easternmost part, unincorproated East L.A., he returned there in 2008 to open a field office to fight Proposition 8, the anti-LGBT measure aimed at eliminating marriage equality in California. Just 3 years earlier, in 2005, Lopez launched the first-ever LGBT statewide political committee serving the Latino community, called HONOR PAC. That same year, he became the first Latino chair of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council. He also served as president of the East Area Planning Commission, a panel for the City of L.A. handling complaints and appeals of land-use decisions.
Lopez and his partner of 13 years, Hans Johnson, lived for 5 years at Sunset Junction in Silver Lake. For the past 6 years, they have lived in Eagle Rock, where they are profoundly engrained in the community. Lopez is vice president of The Eagle Rock Association (TERA). Johnson is president of the largest Democratic club in L.A. County, the East Area Progressive Democrats (www.eapd.la).
The 51st Assembly District covers the Eastside of L.A. from Eagle Rock to Silver Lake to El Sereno and unincorporated East L.A. Do you have friends or family in the district? Let them know. For a map of the district showing neighborhoods and Zip codes, visit here: www.luislopez.org/ad51
To make a contribution to Luis Lopez’ campaign for the Assembly, please visit here and click “Contribute”: www.luislopez.org/