EML Student Elected to CA Assembly
EML Student Elected to California State Assembly
On Nov. 2, USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development graduate student Ricardo Lara was elected to represent the 50th District of the California State Assembly with overwhelming support, winning 77.5 percent of the vote.
Since the election, Lara – a student in the executive master of leadership program at SPPD – has been hard at work, meeting with the leadership in Sacramento so he can “hit the ground running” when he is officially sworn in this December.
Lara is well aware of the tasks that lie ahead, as his district – located in southeast Los Angeles County – includes the City of Bell, which has been at the forefront of local and national news coverage because of a corruption scandal.
“We face several challenges, from the mess in Bell to the constant threat of budget cuts, but I will work hard every day to help our families and our communities move forward,” Lara said. “I want to thank the community for their support as it is an honor to serve.”
Lara credits his victory to strong community ties, forged during his years of work as chief-of-staff to former Assemblymember Marco Firebaugh, who served the same district Lara will now represent.
Over his career, Lara has served as district director for former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, as communications director for Assemblymember Kevin de Léon, and on the planning commission for the City of Los Angeles. He is also a member of the Parent Institute for Quality Education board of directors and served on the County of Los Angeles consumer affairs advisory commission.
“I believe that everyone in the Southeast deserves a local government that is going to be responsive to their needs,” Lara said. “It’s important for us to look at the work that other leaders in our areas are doing, so that as new members, we can help continue to make progress for our communities and for California.”
When he takes office, Lara will find himself among two recent EML graduates, Assemblymember Mike Davis and Assemblymember Isadore Hall, both of whom were re-elected this fall.
Past and current students of the EML program who hold or have held elected office include:
- Mike Davis, California State Assembly Member, 48th District
- Eduardo Garcia, Mayor, City of Coachella
- Isadore Hall, Assistant Speaker pro Tempore, California State Assembly Member, 52nd District
- Patrick Hunter, Past Mayor (1996 – 2008), City of Moorpark
- Cathy Warner, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Whittier
Designed for working professionals, the EML degree provides an educational experience that builds leadership competencies, expands on core values, and creates opportunities for personal growth and development. The program was first offered in the fall of 2007, and since that time has grown to include more than 100 executives from the public, non-profit and private sectors.