Fil-Am community leader Jessica Caloza launches CA assembly campaign

Jessica Caloza |  Contributed photo

LOS ANGELES — Filipina American public servant and longtime community organizer Jessica Caloza has officially announced her bid for a California state assembly seat.

Caloza is running for California’s 52nd district, an area that covers portions of northeast Los Angeles, including Eagle Rock, Silver Lake, Echo Park and Lincoln Heights, East Los Angeles, and the city of Glendale.

Backed with high-powered endorsements from Attorney General Rob Bonta, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California State Council, and seven state assemblymembers, Caloza kicked off her candidacy with an aggressive campaign battlecry of pushing for equal opportunity for everybody especially the immigrants.

“My immigrant family had the opportunity to work hard, get good paying jobs, and build a better life. I want all families to have the same opportunity my family did. It’s not about one of us, it’s about all of us. That’s what my campaign for Assembly is about,” Caloza said in a campaign announcement on July 11.

Caloza made history as the first Filipina to serve as a Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commissioner and oversaw 5,000 employees that delivered city services to four million people.

One of the key projects Caloza delivered during her time at the Department of Public Works was the Historic Filipinotown Eastern Gateway along Beverly Boulevard.

She also worked as an Education Policy Advisor in the Obama administration, focusing on programs that helped students and families.

Adding to her campaign platform, Caloza said, “I want to bring the community’s voice to Sacramento. The challenges facing hard working families and neighborhoods across our district are many but I’m ready to fight for change.”

Caloza has served in various positions in federal, state, and local government, during LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s administration, and most recently served as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the California Attorney General.

“People throughout the 52nd District need and deserve a representative in the State Assembly who will bring compassion, proven leadership, inclusiveness, and a forward-thinking vision to get things done. We have many issues to tackle – a worsening homeless and housing crisis, lack of good paying middle class jobs, an underfunded public education system, a climate emergency, rampant gun violence, and more. My life’s work has been about bringing diverse communities together to find common ground and make positive change —that’s how I plan to lead in the Assembly. I want to fight for the people of the 52nd District like I would fight for my family,” she added.

In showing his strong support for Caloza, AG Bonta described Caloza as a fearless and visionary leader.

“She has the skills, proven abilities, and drive needed to be an effective leader in the State Assembly and a strong voice for communities in every corner of the 52nd District on Day 1. Whether it be enhancing neighborhood safety, curbing gun violence, making our criminal justice system more just, tackling homelessness, fighting for our rights and freedoms, and beyond, Jessica will be a powerful force for progress. I look forward to partnering with her in the California State Assembly. Jessica has my full backing and support,” Bonta stressed.

SEIU California State Council and SEIU-CIR Regional Vice President, Los Angeles General Hospital Resident Physician Mahima Iyengar, on the other hand, said Caloza could be a bold champion for working class in the state Assembly.

“Working families need leaders in the State Assembly who understand the challenges our members face every day. Jessica Caloza grew up in a working class community. She is the proud daughter of working class parents. Given her background and experiences, Jessica knows firsthand the struggles workers grapple with on a regular basis. SEIU California State Council is proud to endorse Jessica Caloza because we know she will be a bold leader for change, fighting for livable wages, better working conditions and protections for workers’ rights. We’re excited to support her,” Iyengar said.

Caloza also received support from key state Assemblymembrs Mia Bonta, Isaac Bryan (Assembly Majority Leader), Mike Fong, Matt Haney (Assistant Majority Whip), Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Evan Low (chair of the API Legislative Caucus) and Stephanie Nguyen (assistant speaker pro tem).

Passionate about fully funding and improving public schools, Caloza also worked in President Barack Obama’s Administration as an education policy advisor. Prior to her service in the federal government, she worked as a community organizer on President Obama’s campaign, and before that, Caloza worked for social justice non-profits that provided critical services to immigrants, working families, and youth. As longtime grassroots activist and community organizer, Caloza has been actively serving in the boards of local nonprofits that deliver services to survivors of human trafficking and provides mental health counseling to youth and their families.

Caloza is also active in Democratic politics and serves as the Southern California Chair of the Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus in the California Democratic Party and is a longtime board member of the Pilipino American Los Angeles Democrats (PALAD).

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