Assemblymember Anthony Rendon, a Democrat from Lakewood who served seven years as the powerful speaker of California’s lower house, is forced out of office by term limits this year, freeing up a coveted seat representing southeastern Los Angeles County in the state Capitol.
Two Democrats and one Republican are vying in the Assembly District 62 race to take Rendon’s place. The two candidates who get the most votes in the March 5 primary will advance to the general election in November.
To help voters understand where the candidates stand on issues they will confront if elected to the Legislature, The Times sent them questionnaires asking how they would address housing and homelessness, the state budget deficit, the debate over single-payer healthcare and other matters. None of the candidates responded to multiple requests for answers.
Who are the candidates?
Solache leads the Los Angeles Basin city of about 67,000 people, and was elected to its City Council in 2013. He has vowed that if elected to the Assembly, he will work to lower college costs, invest in after-school programs, and increase public safety with faster police and fire response times.
He has been endorsed by former Speaker Rendon, the state Democratic Party and unions including SEIU California’s service workers. He is a former member of the Lynwood Unified school board and serves as president of the Greater Lakewood Chamber of Commerce.
Estrada is a progressive activist who resides in South Gate. Environmental justice and corruption in local government are key reasons she’s running, according to her campaign Facebook page.
She and other supporters of the Democratic presidential campaigns of Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders have led protests criticizing the California Democratic Party. She has run for the district’s Assembly seat before, including in 2022, when she secured 36% of the vote to Rendon’s 64%.
Jones, the only Republican in the race, is a retired computer instructor who served in the Marines.
On his campaign website, he says that under current Democratic leadership, California is on the “road toward socialism.” He opposes a slew of laws signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, including those involving gun control, support for immigrants in the U.S. illegally and workplace protections backed by labor unions.
In 2022, he unsuccessfully ran for Congress, losing to incumbent Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-San Pedro).
Where is the district?
The Los Angeles County district cuts southeast from Huntington Park to Lakewood, through all or parts of the cities of Maywood, South Gate, Lynwood, Paramount and Bellflower and the community of Walnut Park.
If elected, Solache plans to work to “expand healthcare access” and lower out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions, according to his campaign website.
Estrada names single-payer healthcare as a primary goal of her campaign, according to her social media.
Jones criticized a bill that moves California toward a unified healthcare financing system, saying on his website that it would be a “state government intrusion” that could wrongly increase costs for consumers.
Read more: California Politics: Rendon gives up the speaker’s gavel
How and where to vote
Read more California election guides
More election news
Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.