The Citizens for Accountable Leadership recently held an online forum with the six persons vying for the 54th state assembly seat vacated by Sydney Kamlager-Dove, who took over Holly Mitchell’s state senate seat when Mitchell was elected to the Board of Supervisors.
The event was moderated by civil and criminal litigation attorney, Carl E. Douglas. Candidates who have filed for this legislative seat include Isaac Bryan, Dallas Fowler, Heather Hutt, Samuel Robert Morales, Bernard Senter, and Cheryl Turner. Douglas asked questions from each of the candidates.
Issac Bryan, who has worked with Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Marque Dawson-Harris, helped to pass Measure J.
He believes that the most pressing issue facing the district is the pandemic.
“COVID-19 hit the community hard,” Bryan said, noting that small businesses closed and the unemployment issue led to additional homelessness. He hopes that the funds coming from the federal, state and local government reach the community and result in economic justice.
“We have to make sure resources don’t trickle down, but go where dollars are needed,” he said. “We need wrap-around services. We have to think holistically. You can’t just build more housing.”
Dallas Fowler was raised in Westchester and has worked on the Commission on the Status of Women and the LAPD permit review panel, where they worked on shutting down human trafficking.
She said the most pressing issue is housing. She agreed that the city needs to become a good financial steward when it comes to receiving
federal funds and she applauds the mayor’s progress on the subject and Project Room Key, which houses the homeless in vacant hotels.
“I have a background in construction,” she told the more than 120 persons on the video call. “We want to have blended communities and spending along our corridor.”
Heather Hutt previously worked as district director for former State Assemblyman Isadore Hall and as a state director for Kamala Harris.
She said that the most pressing issue facing the district is education.
“I definitely want to work on police reform, homelessness, housing and education,” she said. “We know that education is a great equalizer. We need to give companies tax credits to donate to our children for next 18 months—to educate our children and catch them up.”
Samuel Robert Morales bought a house in the district in 2009 and has seen its value quadruple.
“Housing in our district is out of control,” Morales said, noting that expanding Covered California and education are also high on the list of priorities, but housing costs have skyrocketed. “One point three million is a ridiculous amount of money for a working class neighborhood. We have to push for low income and affordable housing.”
Bernard Senter is the Socialist Workers Party candidate. He believes that the biggest challenge is persistent, long term unemployment. “We need to use unions to fight for federally funded programs,” he said.
“We need to fight for a sliding scale of hours and wages. Workers need to fight to control safety on the job.
Cheryl Turner is an attorney and a state commissioner. Born and raised in the district, Turner attended public schools there before starting her own law firm. She believes that the most pressing issue is definitely homelessness and the need for a strong rental assistance program.
“COVID had an impact on jobs, education and housing,” she said.
“Certainly, small businesses need support in terms of grants and loans, so we can get the economy going and people can afford to pay their living expenses.”
Ballots have been mailed to voters in the district. For more information, visit LAvote.net.
Meanwhile, LA Voice & Partners are hosting a candidate forum on Affordable Housing & Homelessness for candidates running in the Special Election for Assembly District 54. The virtual forum will take place on Thursday, April 22 from 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.