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Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-North Hollywood) said she would run for Congress, entering what could become a crowded race to replace Tony Cárdenas as the San Fernando Valley-based 29th District's representative.
Cárdenas has told The Times he will not run for reelection in 2024 and will endorse Rivas to replace him in Washington.
Rivas, 49, said she had tired of the "constant state of dysfunction" the Republican Party has seemed trapped in since the October ouster of Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House.
"Our constituents are paying the price," Rivas said in a Saturday phone interview. "Residents of the San Fernando Valley deserve a member of Congress that will focus on their needs, like I have in the state Legislature."
If elected, Rivas would be the first Latina to represent the district in Washington. Cárdenas in 2012 became the first Latino to represent the area in D.C.
“Luz is a genuine public servant who has dedicated herself to delivering opportunities for the Valley,” Cárdenas told The Times. “She gets things done, and has always put working families first. I am proud to support Luz for Congress.”
Rivas, a native to the Valley, joined the state Legislature in 2018, following the resignation of Raul Bocanegra amid reports of sexual harassment. An Assembly investigation ultimately confirmed a number of allegations that The Times first reported months prior.
Rivas was, at the time, leading DIY Girls, a nonprofit she founded in 2011 that urges girls to pursue careers in science, engineering and technology. She began inching toward working in government in 2016, when then-Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti named her as a commissioner for public works.
After Bocanegra's resignation, Rivas received a wave of calls from people urging her to replace him, she said. She quickly realized she could continue her advocacy for young girls in science in public office.
Serving in the state Legislature “was a way for me to continue my work statewide," she said. "I love being a state legislator. Representing my hometown has been such a great experience. I've liked this more than I ever thought I would."
In Sacramento, Rivas chairs the Natural Resources Committee, enabling her to use her extensive background in science to focus on policy that addresses extreme heat, which has been devastating for her community. Rivas has touted securing millions in funding for her district as a state legislator and this legislative cycle, she's the author of 18 bills, 11 of which became law.
Running for Congress, she said, is a good next step and an opportunity for her to not only address climate change through federal legislation, but also restore confidence in the lower chamber.
"People are losing faith in, you know, what the U.S. House of Representatives can do for us," she said, adding that she is "looking forward to this campaign."
"I hope every elected official and community leader will endorse me," she said.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.