Kevin de León
State Senator Kevin de León represents California’s 22nd District* which includes the Cities of Los Angeles, Alhambra, Maywood, San Marino, South Pasadena, Vernon and parts of unincorporated Los Angeles County.
In 2013, De León became the first Latino to chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Chair. He was first elected to the State Legislature in 2006 as an Assemblymember for Los Angeles and chaired the Assembly Appropriations Committee making him the first Latino Chair of that fiscal committee in the past one hundred years.
De León has earned the reputation of a common sense policy-maker unafraid to take on complex issues. Since 2009 he’s confronted corporate tax reform to level the playing field for California businesses. His efforts inspired Proposition 39 which passed with over 60% of the vote in November 2012. This initiative will help create more than 40,000 California jobs, according to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office, and generate billions of dollars for education and energy efficiency projects.
With his Senate Bill 1234, the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust Act of 2012, he set up the framework for the 6.3 million Californians, mostly lower and middle-income workers who don’t have a retirement plan at work, to set up a portable and reliable plan that will serve as a modest supplement to Social Security. The measure is being watched closely throughout the country as a potential model for worker retirement plans and as a supplement to Social Security.
De León is also an environmental advocate who champions efforts to increase efficiency and greener energy. He firmly believes that clean air, clean water and access to open space should not be determined by the zip code someone resides in but rather that is a right for all people. He authored legislation inserted into an omnibus measure that creates hundreds of millions of dollars for alternative fuel research and development. He has been recognized as Legislator of the Year by the Planning and Conservation League, Green California, Friends of the River and the Coalition for Clean Air.
De León also successfully authored a law establishing a needs-based competitive grants program for the distribution of $400 million in Proposition 84 funds for local park assistance and development. That measure allocated the single largest investment in local park space creation in the nation’s history.
Having witnessed significant gang and street violence in his younger days, Senator De León often partners with law enforcement to develop legislation focused on cutting down violent crime. De León worked to get handgun ammunition that fuels much of this violence out of the hands of criminals and gang-bangers. Along with Sheriff Baca and LAPD Police Chiefs Bratton and Beck, De León championed legislation to create a registry for handgun ammunition purchasers as well as restrictions for online ammunition sales to convicted criminals.
Prior to being elected to the Legislature, Senator De León worked as a community organizer, English as a Second Language and U.S. Citizenship teacher, and was a staff advocate for public schools during his five years at the California Teachers Association. He also served as a Senior Associate for the National Education Association (NEA) in Washington, D.C., where he advocated for more resources for schools in low-income neighborhoods.
Senator De León grew up in the San Diego barrio of Logan Heights. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He attended UC Santa Barbara and graduated from Pitzer College at the Claremont Colleges with Honors. He is a Rodel Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a Guest Lecturer at the University of Southern California. He has one daughter.
*Due to redistricting and renumbering, Senator De León’s new district will see some change. The 24th State Senate District, will encompass communities within the City of Los Angeles and unincorporated County of Los Angeles. Neighborhoods will include East Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles, Central City, East Hollywood and Koreatown.