LOS ANGELES – The race in California’s 58th Assembly District will be closely watched as voters decide who should represent the Southeast cities of Artesia, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera. In 2018, Incumbent Assembly Member Cristina Garcia (D) faced off against challenger Mike Simpfenderfer (R), where she narrowly lead the primary that led to a runoff election November of that year. Garcia ultimately won with 70% of the vote.
Fast forward to May of 2018 when Garcia took a leave of absence from her office following allegations of sexual harassment towards a former staff member. Following an investigation by the California Assembly Rules Committee, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon admonished her for her alleged behavior and removed her from four committees, which included Chair of the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee. While many of the allegations could not be substantiated, the Speaker found that she had “engaged in a pattern of behavior that must be addressed” and asked for her to attend sexual harassment and sensitivity training upon her return to the Assembly. Garcia also apologized for making homophobic remarks in the past towards former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. In an interview with KQED-FM, Garcia said she made the remark out of anger and cited the criticism over her remark was a “good learning experience.” Garcia had previously been a main proponent of the “#MeToo” Movement.
Challenger Margaret Villa is attempting to break the two-party system while running as a Green Party Candidate. She supports term limits, rent control, and ranked-choice voting. She has also been endorsed by California’s Peace and Freedom Party. Villa positions herself as a true representative of working-class residents of Southeast Los Angeles and she has promised to donate a portion of her salary to underserved communities in need if she is elected. Villa’s Facebook campaign site can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/Margaret4Assembly/ Garcia’s Facebook site can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/cristinagarciaad58/
Stay tuned for election results from the March 3rd primary. Results will be posted to WatchOurCity.com