Photo from Wendy Carrillo Twitter

Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo confirmed via Twitter that she is one of several California legislators attending a four-day conference in Maui, Hawaii, despite Governor Newsom’s advisory to restrict or limit non crucial traveling.

In a Twitter post published Thursday morning, Carrillo explained that her trip to the Independent Voter Project conference’s on reopening the economy during COVID-19 was not paid for with taxpayers’ money and that the events were being held under “the strictest of health and safety procedures. She praised Hawaii’s travel guidelines and other COVID measures –and took a jab at Newsom’s handling of the pandemic.

“My intent… is to find solutions of how we can safely live through COVID-19, how we safely re-open our economy,  help small businesses and restaurants and better inform the public amid continued contradicting and constantly changing information from Governor Gavin Newsom,” the statement reads in part.

She added: “If any of this created any mixed messages or caused confusion, let me apologize.”

Carrillo ran unopposed in the Nov. 3 election and was reelected to a third term representing the 51st Assembly District, which includes all of East Los Angeles and the northeastern tip of Boyle Heights – the Ramona Gardens/Hazard neighborhood.

On Wednesday, our partners at LAist wrote about Carrillo’s and another Southern California legislator’s participation in the Maui conference, which was first reported by Politico.

Here’s the full story:

LA area lawmakers fly to Maui to mingle with lobbyists during the pandemic

Originally published by LAist November 18, 2020 

A number of California legislators — including at least two from Southern California — have reportedly decided to wave off the state’s spiking COVID-19 numbers, and Governor Newsom’s travel advisory, to attend a conference in Hawaii with lobbyists.

Assembly members Wendy Carrillo (D-Boyle Heights) and Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) are among those apparently attending the annual Independent Voter Project event, which is typically attended by lawmakers and lobbyists.

Politico was first to track down the evidence: Carrillo posted a tweet on Sunday with a geolocation tag indicating it was sent from Kihei, Hawaii. In a recent campaign finance filing, Rubio reported spending more than $1,600 on Hawaiian Airlines tickets.

The 2020 version of the yearly shindig is being held at a luxury hotel, the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui. (It looks nice! You can get a room with bed and breakfast for $639 per night.) Several major lobbying interests, including the Western States Petroleum Association, skipped the event because of non-essential travel restrictions.

Hawaii currently requires travelers to be temperature-screened at the airport and show proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of their flight to the islands. The incubation period for the virus is several days, and medical experts, including the CDC, recommend a 14-day quarantine if you come into contact with someone who’s been infected.

Independent Voter Project’s executive director, Dan Howle told the San Francisco Chronicle that about 120 people are attending the event this year, including fewer than 20 lawmakers from Washington, Texas and California. The Independent Voter Project paid for their airfare and a five-night resort stay.

Howle told the Los Angeles Times that Rubio was the only California legislator in attendance to give him permission to confirm her presence at the conference.


This report is reprinted with permission from Southern California Public Radio. © 2020 Southern California Public Radio. All rights reserved.

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Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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