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What once looked like an uncontested re-election for District 14 City Councilmember Jose Huizar, has now turned into a race, including a former member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, a former affordable housing commissioner and a political activist. This Friday marked the last day to file a declaration of intention for candidacy consideration.
The latest candidate to join the race is Carlos Montes, an activist and respected leader in the Chicano, immigrant rights and anti-war movements. Montes kicked off his campaign Saturday at his campaign office on East First Street in Boyle Heights.
Montes has been involved with the community since the beginning of the Chicano Movement. He was a co-founder of the Brown Berets, a youth organization in the late 1960’s and 70’s, as well as one of the leaders of the walkouts in East LA high schools to protest racism and inequality. Montes most recently held the office of President of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council.
His campaign points to his activism in public education, against police brutality and defending the rights of migrant and undocumented communities. The campaign, largely grassroots, hopes to raise $350,000 by March 2015.
Last month, former Los Angeles Affordable Housing Commissioner and community healthcare advocate Mario Chavez kicked off his campaign at a community event and neighborhood walk beginning at Hollenbeck Park.
Chavez, born and raised in Boyle Heights, and a former labor organizer says he wants to work with all the residents of District 14 “in building stronger local economies and stronger local neighborhoods.”
Long-tenured Board of Supervisors member Gloria Molina surprised everyone when she announced her candidacy in September. The groundbreaking Latina politician served on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors for 23 years. Molina was also the first Latina to serve in the California Legislature.
Molina has said she decided to run because she was concerned about the level of city services being provided in parts of Huizar’s district.
Her announcement came as shock to political insiders, including incumbent Jose Huizar, who said he thought Molina was planning to retire. He says her reasons for running are inaccurate.
“We have delivered very well for the district,” says Huizar. “I think residents are thrilled with the work we have done, and I look forward to continuing that work for the next four years.”
Last Thursday, incumbent Huizar officially filed for candidacy. In his successes, he points to more than $2 billion in new public project improvements in Boyle Heights in the last five years.
Huizar was first elected to the office in 2005. He was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2007 and 2011. While the Councilman has been popular in his district, he was recently involved in a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former staffer.
The 2015 Primary Election will take place on March 3, 2015.Other candidates who filed a declaration of intention to represent council district 14 are John O’Neill, Bill Watkins, Alex San Martin, Nadine Momoyo Diaz and Mark Tirado. City Council District 14 includes Boyle Heights, EL Sereno, Eagle Rock and Downtown L.A.