In a statement released today, City Council Member David Ryu said he would not seek the 34th Congressional District seat vacated by Congressman Xavier Bacerra, who was tapped by Governor Jerry Brown to be California’s Attorney General. Becerra will complete the term of Kamala Harris, who was elected to the the U.S. Senate in November. Ryu had acknowledged last week that was considering a run for the vacancy.
“I have spent the last several days talking to family, friends, and constituents about the future of our communities and our country, and I thank all those who encouraged me to run,” said Ryu in a statement released today. “However, after careful thought, it’s even more clear to me that my heart remains here in Los Angeles, in the neighborhoods and schools where I grew up, and with the diverse communities I have the honor of serving. Therefore, I will not seek the 34th Congressional seat.”
Ryu went on to say that, “When the nomination of Xavier Becerra as our next State Attorney General created an unexpected vacancy, many community leaders urged me to consider running for Congress. Because the election of Donald Trump marked such a dramatic shift in direction for the nation, I felt obligated to consider how I might best serve.”
In the end, however, he said, “I love my job and I am so proud of the work we have accomplished so far. Since I was sworn in, we have tackled issues around over-development, expanded green space, homelessness, transportation, and public safety. There is much more work ahead of us, and I am looking forward to tackling those tough issues alongside my constituents.”
Until recently, former Assembly Speaker John Pérez was considered the early front-runner for the congressional seat (he also had support from Senator-elect Harris, for whom Pérez served as campaign co-chair). But Pérez announced over the weekend he, too, is declining to run, due to health reasons, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I’ve got to focus on my health right now,” Pérez told the Times. “But it was a very hard decision.”
The congressional election, likely to take place in the spring, is expected to attract a number of Los Angeles Democrats. According to December 5 story in the LA Times, Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Echo Park) is among others who have announced they are running.
“After talking it over with my family and supporters, I have decided to run for the 34th Congressional seat,” Gomez said in the Times story. “I have worked for the people of the 34th District as their State Assemblymember for the past four years. I have fought to ensure everyone – no matter where they live – has access to clean air and water, every worker has a fair and livable wage, and every child can go to college.”
Wendy Carrillo, the former host of a community-based radio program, “Knowledge is Power,” on Power 106FM, recently declared her candidacy for the seat in a post on Medium. Carrillo grew up in City Terrace, and attended El Sereno Middle School, Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, East LA College and received a Bachelor’s at Cal State LA and a Master’s at USC. She came to the US as a child, fleeing war and violence in El Salvador.
“At the age of 13, I learned I was undocumented and eventually I was able to obtain legal status,” wrote Carillo in the Medium post. “I was fortunate while so many others haven’t been. I take that blessing very seriously. Before my 21st birthday, I became a citizen, and for a few years I was the only voting member in a family of seven. My journey is not unique. There are countless people like me who are hard-working members of our society who thrive under dire circumstances. It is the promise of what could be that drives me forward.”