California Sen. Alex Padilla is campaigning hard — just not for himself.
In a nearly $1 million ad blitz this week in state House Speaker-elect Mike Gipson’s race, Padilla is running against a far-right candidate with “anti-English” views and a reputation for threatening violence against immigrants, undocumented workers, and the homeless. The ad campaign, which is airing Friday through Aug. 24 on broadcast TV — the first day of the new legislative session — claims that Gipson “will take away your rights of citizenship and make you pay for it.”
“It’s just an anti-immigrant, anti-American, anti-business, anti-worker, anti-homeless agenda that is going to be forced down your throat,” said Padilla, a Democrat who is the first Latino and the first Democrat to represent the 4th District, which includes parts of eastern Los Angeles County.
Padilla, who is a former Marine who left the Marines after 9/11, is running on a platform of opposition to Gipson’s plans to take away local control of public education and give the California State Board of Education more power to discipline teachers and administrators.
That’s bad news for the state’s growing Latino population of 1.5 million residents. The district covers the San Pedro, Santa Monica, Venice and Santa Clarita valleys, where unemployment hovers around 16 percent — more than double the statewide average. The 4th is also the heart of California’s burgeoning Latino working class, in contrast to the affluent suburbs of East Los Angeles, the City of Angels, and the North County suburbs. California’s Latino population grew by about 7 percent last year, according to the most recent Census figures.
The 4th District is represented by two Latino House members, including Democrat Judy Chu, who was re-elected by her constituents in November. Now, Padilla will have