Four candidates have lined up to succeed Autumn Burke in the California Assembly District 62 race. A special election will take place on April 5, with the top two finishers competing in the general election scheduled for June 7.

Burke (D-Marina Del Rey) resigned in early February after serving three terms in the Assembly. Looking to replace Burke are four Democrats: Tina Simone McKinnor, Robert Pullen-Miles, Angie Reyes English and Nico Ruderman.

Tina Simone McKinnor is a businesswoman and director of non-profit entities. She has more than 30 years of experience in developing public/private sector partnerships locally and once served as a California State Assembly District director. She is a member of the Los Angeles African-American Women’s Public Policy Institute, the Black Women’s Democratic Club, and the California Black Women’s Caucus.

“I believe in fighting for social and economic justice,” McKinnor said. “My network of support is a broad coalition of faith-based, cultural, ethnic, and neighborhood groups. Together, we will bring diverse resources to our communities like after-school programs, livable-wage union jobs, healthcare, nutritional food, COVID relief, and holistic solutions to help families thrive.”

McKinnor has been endorsed by the California Legislative Caucus.

Robert Pullen-Miles has been in public service for the past 24 years. He has served as the Mayor of Lawndale and was once district director for Burke. During his tenure at Lawndale City Hall, Pullen-Miles was noted for attracting new retail businesses–including a new Target Store, as well as a number of small-business startups.  Pullen-Miles led the city’s response to the pandemic by authoring an ordinance prohibiting residential and commercial evictions, helped to organize food giveaway events, and spearheaded the “Lawndale Cares” food basket program.

Tackling rising crime is at the top of Pullen-Miles’ agenda once elected. By addressing the “roots of crime,” he said, vulnerable communities can benefit from better investment for public safety.

“It is more important than ever to make sure that those most heavily impacted by this pandemic are provided the relief they need,” Pullen-Miles said. “In Sacramento, I will fight to expand rent assistance programs, support tax cuts for small businesses, and reform EDD (Employment Development Department).”

Angie Reyes English is a veteran of the Hawthorne City Council and was also city clerk there. She has dedicated her public service career to strengthening neighborhood safety, creating local jobs and improving the health and welfare of local families.

In noting a marked decrease in crime in Hawthorne, English points to critical investments made in the city that have improved quality-of-life concerns such as new street repair and an array of public safety projects.

English has worked in a variety of capacities with local, state and federal officials and is a former council aide and field deputy in the Los Angeles City Council Ninth District. She also worked as a Senior District Representative in the 51st Assembly District.

“I bring my background in working in government and a clear perspective to the office not only as a stakeholder in the City of Hawthorne, but as a parent and grandparent,” English said. “I have been able to build coalitions of diverse people and interests to improve the lives of the residents of Hawthorne and surrounding areas.”

Nico Ruderman is a neighborhood councilmember who wants to expand Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Clean California” grants program of up to $1 billion to remove litter and to transform public spaces into “points of pride” in the district.

Ruderman looks to remove homeless encampments located next to schools, libraries and children’s playgrounds so that “students can have safe schools and a healthy learning environment.”

“We must get real about public safety and address the root causes of crime as well as the problems we see in our streets today,” Ruderman said. “This begins with incentivizing municipalities to put more funding into programs that divert people from the criminal justice system and emergency rooms to places of care and treatment.”

The 62nd Assembly District is an ethnically diverse region encompassing the northern South Bay region and the southern part of the Westside. It extends from South Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean and is centered primarily around Los Angeles International Airport.

Latinos comprise roughly 44 percent of residents, followed by African-Americans at 26 percent, Whites at 23 percent and the remaining citizenry composed of Asians, Native-Indians, and Hawaiian-Pacific Islander.

Cities there include El Segundo, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox and Marina Del Rey. Venice, Westchester and Westmont comprise about 3 1/2 percent of the City of Los Angeles. Over more than a century of redistricting has seen the 62nd Assembly District move around the state ranging from Toulumne, Fresno, Fresno-Madera, Kings County, San Bernardino and finally Los Angeles. Both Democrats and Republicans have represented the district; by the mid-1990s, Democrats have held the seat via sizable voting majorities.

The California Legislature is one of 10 full-time state legislatures in the nation. In 2021, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission voted 14-0 in favor of new state Assembly and Senate District maps. These new boundaries took effect at the beginning of the year. As of the 2020 U.S. Census, California state lawmakers represented an average of 494,227 residents.  

The California State Assembly–popularly known as the “lower house”—has 80 members elected to two-year terms. The California State Senate (“upper house”) is composed of 40 members elected to four-year terms. A member of the Legislative Assembly is a representative elected by the voters of an electoral district (constituency) to the legislature of State government. Under the provisions of term limits, each member of the Assembly (on or after the passage of Proposition 28 in 2012) may serve a lifetime maximum of 12 years in the State Legislature. No person may serve more than 12 years in the Assembly, Senate or both, in any combination of terms.

Democrats hold veto-proof supermajorities in both houses of the California State Legislature. The Assembly consists of 60 Democrats and 19 Republicans, with one independent. The California State Senate is composed of 30 Democrats and nine Republicans (with one vacancy).

Legislative sessions begin at the start of the year, primarily because lawmakers use the months preceding their legislative session to gather ideas for bills. The California State Assembly holds the principle law making powers of the state. On average, the Legislature will propose, analyze and debate more than 6,000 bills in a single two-year session.

Members of the State Assembly officially assume office the first Monday in December (in even-numbered years) following their election. 

Mail-in ballots have been distributed for the April election. The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder encourages voters to safely participate by returning their mail-in ballot early. There are multiple return options available such as return-by-mail (no postage required and must be postmarked by election Day); drop off at a Ballot Drop Box, or drop off at a Vote Center which can be done beginning Saturday, March 26.

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