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Fil-Am Jessica Caloza to run for California state assembly

Steve Angeles | TFC News Los Angeles

Posted at Nov 10 2023 10:29 AM

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A familiar face is in Los Angeles is seeking a statewide office.

Former LA public works commissioner Jessica Caloza is in the running for California’s 52nd state assembly in next year’s statewide elections.

A win would make Caloza the first Filipino woman to be elected in the state assembly.

The 52nd district includes parts of northeastern LA county, and the considered Filipino hubs of Eagle Rock and Glendale.

The incumbent Wendy Carillo, has decided to run for the LA City Council, thus opening up the seat for Caloza to run.

"I have the experience that I need to make sure I’m not only an elected official but an effective one," she said. "I know the community, I listen, I learn, and represent the values of the people here in the place that I first called home."

The UC San Diego graduate began her political career working in education policy in the Obama administration.

Since returning to Los Angeles, she’s been involved with many community organizations, with a special focus on Filipino and Asian causes. She has also held leadership positions among several democratic groups.

Former mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Caloza as the first Filipina to serve on the board of LA's public works commission.

Her most recent post is serving as deputy chief of staff for California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

"It was an incredible opportunity that I’ve had, being a first generation immigrant who was first in my family to graduate from college," said Caloza. "[It] is because of my parents, my family behind me, who gave me an opportunity to be able to do what I want with my career."

She added: "I chose to serve, so in every single position that I’ve had from the federal to the state and the local level, I had to fight for and that’s what I bring to the table."

During her time in city hall, Caloza spearheaded projects for representation including the completion of the Historic Filipinotown archway, and the lighting of Philippine colors at Los Angeles landmarks during Filipino American History Month.

While the election will take place in November 2024, Caloza just launched her campaign this summer as she gears up for a March primary. At least six other Democrats have announced their candidacies.