Ten months from election day, the race for the Los Angeles City Council District 14 seat now has three candidates.
Jamie Tijerina, a scientist and community activist, has joined school board president Mónica García and former state senator Kevin de León in the race to replace José Huízar on the City Council next year once he reaches his term limit.
Tijerina, a scientific researcher at CalTech and the president of the Highland Park Heritage Trust, is running to represent a district that includes includes Boyle Heights, El Sereno, Northeast Los Angeles and parts of Downtown.
“We are at a turning point in Los Angeles. The decisions that are made at City Hall now will have a lasting impact on our city for decades to come,” Tijerina said in a campaign press release on April 25. “I will take a proactive approach in addressing the needs of the community to ensure that thriving in Los Angeles is possible for future generations.”
In her release, Tijerina announced that she had been endorsed by the Occidental Democrats, a student group at Occidental College in Highland Park. Her other endorsements include representatives on the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, as well as Jose Orozco Pelico, treasurer of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council.
She has branded her campaign as a push for the “first millennial and first woman” to serve on the City Council — as well as a Spanish-speaking Latina with Middle Eastern heritage, who was raised in the Northeast and Eastside communities of Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, and Garvanza.
Her platform includes support for immigrant rights, government transparency, environmental justice, labor rights and arts engagement, according to the campaign.
“We need to advocate for fair access to the resources that people need to thrive in the present and future by addressing and correcting systemic inequity,” Tijerina said in the release. “We must create solutions that are technologically up to date, sustainable, and just. As we face serious crises from crushing student loans to climate change and homelessness, we must be willing to take bold action and look at issues in new ways.”
Tijerina has served in various community leadership roles since 2016, when she was elected to the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council. Over her three years on the council, she chaired the Culture and Equality Committee, created a community learning series and represented her council’s funding needs in front of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners.
As a Budget Advocate for Region 8 Northeast Los Angeles since June 2018, Tijerina made addressing the legacy of redlining — a systematic policy in the 1930s that denied economic investment to certain communities, largely drawn along racial lines — and its continued impact on the city a priority.
The election is set for March 3, 2020 with a runoff in November 2020 if no candidate gets the majority of the vote. Candidates can begin officially filing an intent to run with the city’s election board in November 2019.
Huízar, the current councilman, faces an ongoing FBI investigation and multiple lawsuits accusing him of workplace discrimination and possibly illegal fundraising activities. The Los Angeles Times reported in April that Huízar sought to postpone two lawsuits from former employees while the federal probe continued; though he remains on the City Council, he has been stripped of his committee titles.
Though Tijerina does not address the controversy over Huízar in her platform, she states that she aims to increase community engagement and promote transparency.
“The 14th District is a vibrant place with good people, rich history, diversity, and culture,” Tijerina says on her website. “The people deserve to have their needs met and their voices heard by our city officials.”
Photo from Facebook.