California State University, Los Angeles alumna Wendy Carrillo was elected to the state’s Assembly District 51 seat in a special runoff election Tuesday.
Carrillo defeated fellow Democrat Luis López to win the race to represent the district, which encompasses Cal State LA and areas including East Los Angeles, Chinatown, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Montecito Heights, Silver Lake, Lincoln Heights and Historic Filipinotown.
“You don’t need to wait to get tapped on the shoulder for someone to tell you it’s your turn,” Carrillo said at an election night party on Dec. 5, according to the Los Angeles Times. “You have to fight.”
A journalist and labor activist, Carrillo grew up in Boyle Heights and City Terrace after coming to the United States from El Salvador as a young child. She received her U.S. citizenship when she was in her early 20s.
Carrillo attended East Los Angeles College and later received a bachelor’s degree in 2005 from Cal State LA, where she also served in the university’s student government, Associated Students, Inc. She continued her pursuit of higher education, earning a master’s degree from the University of Southern California.
“Attending Cal State LA was one of the best education decisions I ever made,” Carrillo said in a 2008 interview with the Cal State LA Office of Communications and Public Affairs. “As a Latina, first-generation college student and the oldest of five girls, [the university] trained me to be a critical thinker and an advocate for my community.”
Carrillo will serve out the term of former assemblymember Jimmy Gomez, who replaced Rep. Xavier Becerra in the 34th Congressional District after Becerra was appointed as state attorney general.
In the Dec. 5 election, Carrillo received 52.8 percent of the vote, compared with Lopez’s 47.2 percent.
“We congratulate Wendy on her election victory,” Cal State LA President William A. Covino said. “We look forward to working with her as she takes her seat in the Legislature.”
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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 26,000 students and has more than 250,000 distinguished alumni.
Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit www.CalStateLA.edu.