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Tony Mendoza Opens Up About Campaign for State Senate, Life, Passions


By Tammye McDuff

Tony Mendoza was born and educated in South Central LA, the second youngest of nine children. Mendoza was raised in a single parent home; knowing the struggles of migrant working families and the opportunities that a good education provides. He was the first in his family to attend and graduate from college. He enrolled at California State University, Long Beach where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.

Mendoza has been in office for 16 years, supporting many issues and standing for what he believes to be in the best interest of his constituents. His personal philosophy being “I am a public servant leader and I am here to help”.

Hews Media Group [HMG]: Tell me who Tony Mendoza is?
Tony Mendoza [TM]: I have been in politics for quite some time. I was 25 years old when I ran for a Council seat in Artesia. That year was hectic. I was teaching elementary school in East LA., a first year Councilman and I also met my wife that year. It was an incredible year.

HMG: Do you still teach?
TM: I am substituting. It allows me the freedom to pursue my candidacy, while allowing me to get back into the classroom and see what is really going on. Particularly in Los Angeles, it is such a large district.

HMG: What transitioned you from being a teacher into politics?
TM: I actually wanted to be a public administrator, but when I was still in college, the city council got me kind of upset. They were not taking care of the needs of the northern part of Artesia. At the time it was predominately Latino and there were gangs, drugs and prostitution in the community and I felt the council was completely neglecting that area. When I approached the council about these issues, and they completely disregarded me. Their response was racist and bigoted. I realized that many of their terms of office would be up soon, so I ran for City Council. I went door to door introducing myself in a grassroots campaign and got elected.

HMG: Tell me why constituents’ should vote for you?
TM: if you look at my track record, I feel I have served the citizens well. I consider myself a ‘servant leader’. Many issues came up in the Assembly, which I stood against. I vote for what is right for the district. In 1997, I became the youngest and first Latino member of the Artesia City Council and to serve as the city’s mayor. After three terms with the city council and teaching for 10 years, I decided I could better serve the citizens and the community by running for State Assembly.

HMG: What issues did you vote against, that set you in detriment with your peers in the Assembly?
TM: One that I feel was most important was redevelopment. This would allow cities to have an economic development tool to bring in businesses and create jobs. The State voted to eliminate redevelopment; all of our cities were up in arms. I was one of the few Senate members that voted to keep redevelopment. The Senate and the Speaker were adamant about removing redevelopment. I did not support their cause, which created much stress in my office. After my vote, mysteriously any and / all my bills were not passed. I stood in opposition of the disincorporation of Vernon; I was the only Democrat that voted against this.
HMG: How do you see yourself transforming the life of Californians?
TM: I have done my homework and paid my dues. I know the issues. I know the pros and cons of the Water Bond issues, the environmental concerns, job concerns and educational problems. My bill AB 97 made California the first state in the nation to ban the use of Trans Fats—the health-deteriorating food ingredient, this has now become the standard all across the nation. The parenting education legislation, AB 1291, passed in 2007 allows judges to sentence the parents of children with first-time gang offenses to anti-gang parenting education classes that prevent further involvement in gangs. And I also passed AB 22 which prohibits the use of Credit Checks in the hiring process. I believe my track record speaks for itself. I consider serving the public my calling, politics is just what we do, but to serve the public and keeping that my focus is the key.


  • Downey Supporter says:

    Tony’s an all-around great guy. There’s not many elected officials in Sacramento that I would feel confident about these days. The simple fact that he’s never been in bed with the Calderon’s says it all for me. Keep restoring our confidence Tony.

  • Rick C says:

    Mendoza is by far the worst candidate I have en. He continues to vote for tax increases, does not care about the unemployed (and that came from his office) and just wants to be a professional politician. Just go away Tony. Since you were a teacher let me put this a way you can understand. You got an F (that means you failed) during your time as assembly member. Please just go away and let California recover on its own. You and your buddies have done enough damage.

  • AndyAmerican says:

    Tony Mendoza is truly a great person. I met him back when I was a misguided teenager. Tony lived in “Chivas”, which is a densely-gang populated track of lower class homes located in Artesia. Not to mention most drive-by shootings, stabbings and drug deals are made in that area. While Tony was councilman, we met through a friend of mine; who was also his neighbor. I will NEVER forget the look of disappointment in Tony’s face that he gave me when he spotted me tagging along with some hoodlum neighbor kids and their older brothers. That looked saved me! Literally! Who knows what troubled future I could have conjured… but that look of disappointment really effected made me & forced me to rationalize my life. Thank you Tony, without you and that very brief moment in my life, I would not be who I am today, a successful M.D.