(The news peg here is that Dr. Chu vows to join the Progressive Caucus. Please welcome her to Calitics. - promoted by David Dayen)
It was December 18th when I first heard the news that President-elect Obama had chosen Hilda Solis as his nominee for Secretary of Labor. I was so thrilled because Hilda Solis is a person of such integrity, a true progressive champion who has left an amazing legacy as my representative in the 32nd district of California. After the initial excitement I felt upon hearing the news, it occurred to me: the congressional seat would be open; this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to help President Obama bring change to America and to continue the work Hilda Solis began in CA-32. I knew I had to run for this seat.
I have represented parts of the 32nd congressional district since 1985 when I was elected to the Garvey School Board in Rosemead. Having gained notoriety fighting an English only ordinance in Monterey Park -- and winning that fight -- I was elected to the Monterey Park City Council in 1988 and served three terms as Mayor. In 2001 I was elected to the state Assembly and was proud to win a seat on the California Board of Equalization in 2006 where I currently serve as Vice-Chair. The 32nd district has been my home for 24 years and I have voted for Hilda Solis as my representative ever since she first won the seat in 2000. Now, in 2009, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to succeed her and carry on her fight for progressive values in Washington.
Hilda and I actually go back 20 years when we worked together on a re-districting initiative that brought both the Asian-American and Latino communities together. Too often our communities are at odds but our re-districting fight proved that all of our interests could be served if we work together. Our friendship and partnership continued for years and in 2001, as I ran a difficult race for the California Assembly, it was Hilda Solis's endorsement that put me over the top. Now in 2009, as a member of the administration, Hilda must stay out of the political fray, but I am proud and humbled to have the support of the Solis family to continue the fight that Hilda started in Congress. If I am lucky enough to be sent to Washington by the voters of CD 32, I intend to follow Hilda's example by joining the progressive caucus and fighting for workers who have been under assault for the past decade.
I have been a fierce advocate for workers throughout my career. I've been a proud member of the American Federation of Teachers for 20 years; as Mayor of Monterey Park, I supported SEIU 535 in their efforts to organize nurses at Garfield Hospital and joined with the Teamsters to fight the expansion of WalMart; in the Assembly I sponsored AB 805, the Heat Illness Standards bill that provides minimal standards to protect workers from excessive heat on the job, such as shade, water and rest breaks; and as a member of the US Congress I will be proud to add my name to the list of co-sponsors of the Employee Free Choice Act. President Obama supports it because he knows that empowering workers to unionize is key to rebuilding the middle class and I agree. My fight for workers has won me a 100% lifetime voting record from the California Federation of Labor and I'm proud to have received the endorsement of the L.A. County Federation of Labor and the Service Employees International Union in addition to several locals including the Amalgamated Transit Union California Conference Board, Teamsters Joint Council 42 and Teamsters Local 911.