The Campaign Trail: Councilmember announces run for state Senate

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Long Beach Councilmember Lena Gonzalez filed paperwork Dec. 14 to replace California Insurance Commissioner-Elect Ricardo Lara in the California state Senate. Gonzalez is vying for Lara’s 33rd-district position.

In an emailed press release from the “Lena Gonzalez for State Senate” campaign, the councilmember wrote that she has received Lara’s endorsement.

The following day, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia announced his endorsement of Gonzalez, according to a campaign email Dec. 15.
Lena Gonzalez

Gonzalez has served on the Long Beach City Council since 2014– representing downtown Long Beach and surrounding communities. She has served as the vice chair of the City’s State Legislative Committee for the past five years and chairs the Tidelands and Harbor Committee, according to the campaign. She is employed with Microsoft and wrote that she focuses on issues related to digital inclusion and technical equity.

Gonzalez spoke to the Signal Tribune Dec. 18 about her decision to run for state Senate. She said her work on championing policies, such as the polystyrene ban earlier this year and citywide-project labor agreements, has had her recognized by the officials for her role as a “leader in one of the largest cities in the state.”

“I am certainly qualified,” she said. “I don’t know if there is a certain box that you have to check to become a state senator, but I do think the experience, having been a leader on the State Legislative Committee, […] has helped me advocate with elected leaders about issues relative to Long Beach.”

When asked if her 2019 campaign leading into the 2020 California State Senate elections will interfere with her work as a Long Beach councilmember, Gonzalez responded that planning things out in advance and organizing goals with her office will prevent slowdowns in her district work.

“It’s really just being able to continue the good response time for constituents on the ground and ensuring we’re moving through with projects relative to Measure A and additional projects that we’re funding through the council office,” Gonzalez said. “Everything will be work as usual, and we’ll continue to ramp up on the State side.”

In closing, she said she has received plenty of positive feedback since her announcement to run last week.

“Everybody has been very positive,” she said. “They’ve been very excited to know that there is a woman running for state Senate. Of course, I look at my policies through the lens of a woman, a mom, a elected official, a resident of Long Beach. With all that, I come up with a lot of knowledge as to what policymaking takes as far as looking at things comprehensively and through all these different lenses.”

On Dec. 19, Gonzalez’s campaign announced in an email blast that 9th District Councilmember Rex Richardson would serve as her campaign chair.