Candidates in runoff for 34th seat

| April 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

CANDIDATES Robert Lee Ahn (left) and Jimmy Gomez (right) face off in Congressional race.

Two Democratic Party candidates are competing in a June 6 runoff election for the 34th Congressional District seat.

Attorney Robert Lee Ahn will go up against state assemblyman Jimmy Gomez to fill the seat vacated by Xavier Becerra, who was named California’s attorney general by Gov. Jerry Brown in Dec. 2016.

The two men were the top two vote-getters of the 23 candidates who ran in the April 4 primary election. Gomez secured 28 percent of the vote to Ahn’s 19 percent. Run-off voting will be on June 6.

Jimmy Gomez

Speaking to the Chronicle, Gomez says that his work as a state legislator has prepared him to hit the ground running in Congress.

“My legislative experience is key. I am the candidate who can take the fight to D.C. and be smart about it,” he says.

Elected to the California State Assembly in 2012, Gomez was reelected in 2014 and again in 2016 to represent California’s 51st Assembly District, which includes Northeast Los Angeles and unincorporated East Los Angeles.

As a state representative, Gomez says the biggest lesson he has learned is that “you don’t have to compromise your values to make pragmatic decisions.”

He points to his work to expand California’s Paid Family Leave program, where he authored Assembly Bill 908 to restructure the program to better serve low-income participants. In the end, the bill passed with the support of 12 Republican votes. “I learned that you could reform policy on progressive values and still pick up conservative votes. It’s about how you address everyone’s concerns while maintaining your values.”

Gomez graduated magna cum laude from UCLA and earned his master’s from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. After returning to Los Angeles in 2006, Gomez worked in Los Angeles City Councilman Michael Feuer’s office, and he later served as the political director for the United Nurses Association of California.

Today, Gomez lives with his wife in Eagle Rock, a neighborhood he praises for its culture, diversity and outdoor activities: “It’s a place that I think is both a great place to live and to represent.”

When asked what issues Greater Wilshire residents have raised with him, Gomez says that there are specific environmental concerns regarding protecting our water and access to open spaces.

“There is also a real fear that the Trump administration is going to hurt the quality of life in California,” he adds.

On the subject of Trump, Gomez points out that the stakes have never been higher. “I grew up in Riverside, which was mostly Republican at the time. I know that there are many California Republicans who care about doing the right thing; they just have slightly different values than me. Trump is different. He is threatening the Californian way of life.”

Robert Lee Ahn

The Chronicle featured an interview with candidate Ahn in the March issue primarily because Ahn was the one candidate, of the 23, who lives in the Larchmont Chronicle neighborhoods.  In that interview, Ahn told of growing up in Mid-Wilshire as the son of Korean immigrants. He discussed watching the 1992 riots on TV as a 10th grader and fearing for the safety of his father, who worked near 6th and Western.

A former member of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, Ahn says his top issues in running for Congress are public safety, crime and healthcare.

The full interview with Ahn is at:

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