Assembly District 59




SelfIdentifiedFemale (SIF) OtherthanSIF (OSIF)

59 Joe Rose * OSIF
59 Marcial R Romero * OSIF
59 Luz Arely Portillo * SIF
59 Adriana Cabrera  * SIF
59 Franklin Pedro Andres * OSIF
59 Natali Cabrera * SIF
59 Julio C. Esperias, Jr. * OSIF
59 Liz Melendrez * SIF
59 Leslie Hagan-Morgan * OSIF
59 Christopher Castillo No OSIF
59 Nicole Walker * SIF
59 Ruffin Patterson No OSIF
59 Salvador Diaz No OSIF
59 Victoria Mackey No SIF
59 David Cunningham * OSIF
59 Brendon Cooper * OSIF
59 Janet Kelly * SIF
59 Brian R. Romero * OSIF
59 Arturo Flores * OSIF
59 Kennia Escareno Nava * SIF
59 Esmeralda Castillo De La Cruz * SIF
59 Derek Bryson * OSIF
59 Yadira D. Hernandez Herrera No SIF
59 Edgar Campos * OSIF
59 Armida Reyes * SIF
59 Francisco Iturbe No OSIF
59 Jaileen Perez * SIF
59 Pedro Flores * OSIF
59 Sandi Cook * SIF
59 Astrid  Campos No SIF
59 Delia Acedo * SIF
59 Veronica Salas * SIF
59 Frances Braham No SIF
59 Monica Molina No SIF
59 Isaac Canal * OSIF
59 Robert Ramires No OSIF
59 Ida M Woods No SIF

Candidate Statements

Hi, I’m Joe Rose, a proud Democrat and resident of West Adams where I live with my wife, our two cats, and our beautiful twin boys that were born just before COVID changed everything. I’m a current ADEM delegate for AD59 and this past summer I was one of two elected DNC convention delegates from Rep. Karen Bass’s district for our next president, Joe Biden. It was truly an honor to be a part of the process that removed the current president from office. I am also a steering committee member for Indivisible CA33/CA37.

I hope to be re-elected as an Assembly District Delegate for AD59 so that I can influence the party in ways that benefit our local community and that protect the future for all of our children. I plan to continue advocating for legislation and policies that include economic relief for people impacted by COVID, cash bail reform, universal healthcare, criminal justice and police reform, protecting our unhoused and immigrant neighbors, supporting our public school teachers, addressing income inequality, and treating climate change as the #1 threat to our planet. I believe that as Democrats, and in particular, California Democrats, we can lead our country forward on these critical issues. Thank you for your consideration.

Joe Rose

I humbly ask for your vote to become a Delegate to represent the residents of the 59th Assembly District. As a lifelong Angeleno and a resident of the 59th Assembly District for over a decade, I am fully aware of the hardships that every day Angelenos endure.

While there are many important issues that lay ahead for California, affordable housing, healthcare, reproductive rights, ending the gender pay gap, ensuring an environment in which future generations can properly survive in, issues that the 59th Assembly District, our community, are often at the forefront of. The issue that’s most dear to my heart and my top priority will always be higher education. I see higher education as the great equalizer. As California’s job market becomes increasingly competitive, a college education can help break the cycle of poverty and produce a wide range of job opportunities. We must demand higher education be a priority of every elected legislator.

We must also work to ensure that we pass progressive legislation such as a Green New Deal, Ending the School to Prison Pipeline, the ending of ICE and deportation camps, and Medicare for All to ensure everyone has access to healthcare without going into poverty due to debt.

We must make it a priority to elect officials that know our stories and our hardships. That our elected officials in Sacramento work to improve the livelihoods of our communities. Let us work together to shape the platform of the Democratic Party to improve California.

My name Is Marcial Rene Romero and I look forward to serving you.

Marcial Rene Romero

Hello, my name is Luz Arely Portillo I am a resident and community member of Vermont-Slauson and I humbly ask for your vote to serve as an ADEM Delegate for the 59th Assembly District. As a lifelong resident of Los Angeles, I have seen and experienced first hand the challenges that working families face every day. This past year has been no different and has reminded us all that the first affected are those in historically underserved communities such as our own.

As residents of this district, we don’t have to look far to see the real impact of issues affecting our communities such as Accessible and Affordable Housing, Food Insecurity, Social Justice Reform, Accessible Health Care and Unemployment. The ramifications of COVID-19 this year has shown us just how deeply rooted these problems are and the need for solutions. If elected, I plan to advocate for these issues to be central to the Party’s platform and that legislative solutions be pursued and implemented to address them.

As a delegate, I think it’s imperative that our Party continues to look towards the future and find solutions for the issues to come. Addressing the school to prison pipeline, the effects of continuing Climate Change, the unaccounted learning gap due to COVID-19, eliminating college debt and making College free and accessible are issues we need to demand action steps from our Party and our local elected officials. It is my hope that if elected as a Delegate, I can diligently represent our district’s best interest and to work alongside fellow delegates to ensure that our District and our Party can work towards meaningful and impactful change for all Californians.

Luz Portillo

I am a lifelong resident of South-Central Los Angeles, and a proud member of the Fighting 59th Slate.

I am running to represent you, the people of the 59th Assembly District, for ADEM Delegate because I believe that we need to build a more inclusive, progressive, and forward-thinking Democratic Party. A Democratic party that builds bridges across communities.

My parents taught me the value of education, hard work and giving back to the community. As such I am the first (and not last) in my immediate family to earn a college. I was fortunate to graduate from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Legal Studies and attended CSU Northridge’s MPA program.

I began my professional career with Southwest Voter Registration Education Project where I gained valuable insight on the importance of increasing the participation of Latinos in the American democratic process. I also worked for NALEO Educational Fund, where I was responsible for the recruitment of the nation’s Latino elected and appointed officials. In this capacity I played an important role in shaping the largest national network of Latino leaders devoted to shaping and improving American society.

I bring a deep understanding of the “nuts and bolts” of advocacy within government systems, having worked as a community organizer, staffer for local city government, and as a consultant on various issue-based campaigns such as eviction protection, energy storage, affordable housing, among others. I have applied a wide variety of strategies and techniques to raise the profile of key issues and influence legislation in favorable ways – influencing progressive legislation and policies.

As ADEM Delegate I will work to build a better future for the California Democratic Party that is people powered! To build a party that is reflective of the various communities, that is transparent when it comes to decision making, and it truly connected to a grassroots movement.

COVID-19 has devastated our social-safety net, and as a party we must advocate for and build lasting economic and racial equity, to build real community power – to make our communities resilient. Millions of Californians want systematic change. It starts with us.

I would be honored to earn your support and vote for 59th Assembly District ADEM Delegate.

In Solidarity,

Julio C. Esperias

Julio C. Esperias


My name is Elizabeth (Liz) Melendrez, I am a life long democrat born and raised in the beautiful city of Huntington Park, Ca.

I am a community activist, in my city and I am not afraid to speak my mind when it comes to defending my community. Lately, my community has been faced with some hardships due to the pandemic and corruption at its best from several city officials. I, along with other members of the community have worked hard, to ensure we get the help needed to raise our city back to how it was, and maybe even better.

I am running for Assembly District Delegate, because I believe it’s time we see more changes in our communities. I want to work hard to ensure our communities are not being neglected, and that we put the attention where it’s needed. Enough is enough! and our communities need to cleaned, we need to deal with homelessness and make sure our communities are safe for EVERYONE.

I also believe in free tuition colleges, which means our children will have the opportunity to a higher education. No child should stay behind, no high school graduate should skip college due to lack of financial support. We all deserve a chance and we need to raise the statistics for college graduates in our communities.

I believe in affordable health care for all, especially in troubling times like these. No one should be denied health care, because I believe it’s a right not a privilege to have health care.

These is what I stand for, and as a delegate this is what I will work for: Safer Communities, No more Homelessness, Affordable Heath Care, More resources for our students, and Free Tuition College.

Please support me, and give me the honor of working with you along with the rest of the delegates.

Liz Melendrez

Leslie Hagan-Morgan is the Executive Director and co-founder of City of Youth Foster Care. City of Youth is a charter school located in the heart of South LA that was founded in 2011. This charter school is responsible for educating and graduating high school students that have a history of getting kicked out and/or failing from the LAUSD system or other charter schools. The curriculum Leslie created, where the support of students was made pivotal by rallying community and professionals, was responsible for graduating 90% of his students a year. His passion is rooted in community development and education of our youth. He is running for re-election for State Assembly delegate in the 59th district to see this mission forward.

Leslie served as program coordinator for SEA’s GRYD program from 2014-2016. Here he led a team that helped transition former gang members to working, educated and positive members of their respective communities. His tireless work to improve communities one person at a time is his driving force to getting under-served areas in our state necessary funding and support for improvement. Leslie partners with other organizations, such as “work programs” to see that people are getting jobs and are able to make a living sustaining a profitable wage. He is a proponent and funder of local community gardens teaching community beautification and self-sufficiency and diversity. All this work is to enhance people and show communities that they are important.

Leslie’s passion for this 59th district he was raised in is the main motivation for him running for State Assembly. He earned his B.A. in Global Studies from University of West Georgia and attended Indiana Wesleyan University and Harvard University for his Business. He and his wife, Medinah Hagan-Morgan, have two children.

Leslie Hagan-Morgan

Hello, Fellow Democrat! I am Christopher Castillo! I have decided to run for Democratic Assembly Delegate to uphold our Democratic Values. I have dedicated my life to public service. It all started when I was 22 years old. I was mentored by Congresswoman Laura Richardson and the former Mayor of Carson Daryl Sweeney. Right after I ran public issue campaigns that shaped state and local policies. All while holding a 9-5 job as a Union Carpenter. Later I had the unique opportunity of serving as State Coordinator for Westcal Academy, a higher education non-profit organization that helps college students find internships across the state of California, regardless of documentation status. In 2016 Westcal Academy in conjunction with Latin University of Theology, presented me with an Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy for my work with underprivileged students. Seeing the lack of attention in local politics I decided to serve in another capacity. I was hired as Field Organizer for Los Angeles Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas for his Los Angeles City Council race. We won the primary! Then COVID-19 hit, I saw how many Republican Leaders failed some of our local municipalities across Southern California. We needed Democratic Leaders that believed in science and had the proper experience to lead. I did something about it! In May I started my own Political Consulting, Government Affairs & Opposition Research firm by the name of Black Castle & Associates. I came to aid many Democratic Campaigns across Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties. We had many victories, one race brought tears to my eyes: when we elected the first Democratic, Woman & Latina Mayor in Oceanside! After this election cycle I was admitted to the American Association of Political Consultants & Sworn in as a Government Affairs Committee member for the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce. Today as a proud small business owner and representative of a higher education non-profit, I respectfully ask for your vote! As your Assembly Democratic Delegate to the California Democratic Party I will give our district a voice and represent your best interest. I have a proven track record of getting things done! If you have any questions you could reach me at my personal cell number: 323-944-6979. I will answer all your questions to earn your vote. Thank you

Christopher Castillo

Hello my name is Nicole Walker and this is my third time running for delegate for the 59th assembly district. In my two previous terms, I have had the honor of serving and advocating for this wonderful, diverse community. I have advocated for affordable housing, economic justice, environmental justice, criminal justice and immigration reform in various leadership roles on the local and state level. Locally, I serve in executive board positions in a few local democratic clubs. On the state level, I served as a member of the platform committee where I have provided language to ensure affordable housing for all, as a political director for a caucus and as a former vice-chair for a caucus with California Young Democrats. Working at both levels, allows me to listen to the community and address their issues with party leadership at the state level. I would love to continue to have the honor to do so.

Nicole Walker

Greetings Fellow Democrats,

My name is David Cunningham and I am running to become an Assembly District Delegate, representing AD59.

As a former foster youth, I became intrigued with legislation and policies being made in state legislatures, the United States Senate and in Congress that affect foster youth around the world which is why I decided to study political science and pursue a career in law.

I was born to a mother who was addicted to drugs and a father who was involved in gangs. At the age of three, I was placed in the foster care system where I would soon understand the meaning of abuse and neglect. I would report the abuse to my caseworkers and no actions prevailed. At the age of six, I was adopted by the family that physically, mentally, emotionally, verbally and sexually abused me. At the age of eleven, I opened up about my sexuality to a school therapist who broke confidentiality. I returned home later that day to be told that I could not be gay and live there. I became homeless. I resulted to living in abandoned houses, trains, busses cars and most times on the cold black pavement in South Los Angeles. I experienced adults stepping over me while I was asleep. Many nights I cried because I couldn’t understand how someone could just turn a blind eye to a child sleeping on the street. It wasn’t until the eighth grade when one of my teachers demanded that I told her what I was going through. She took me in and nurtured me. Because of her, I graduated from Locke High School at fifteen with the APEX Learning Program that LAUSD offered and left California to attend Savannah State University to study Political Science.

As a famous Philosopher once said, “I think therefore, I am” – Descartes

My ambition and drive fueled me over the obstacles that tried to negate my success. I’ve worked in congress, the Georgia State Legislature. I served as a Los Angeles County Commissioner where I advocated on the behalf of the 3.9 million people in Los Angeles, California, living with HIV and Aids. I have worked alongside some of the most respected politicians in the United States.

I believe that my skill sets and experience have equipped me with the ability, passion and drive to become an Assembly District Delegate, representing AD59.

To get in contact with me, please visit my website a I look forward to earning your support and vote!

David Cunningham

I am currently a PhD candidate at USC researching computational biology and bioinformatics. I was born and raised in California and am the first in my family to graduate from college. Although California is viewed as a solidly blue state, we are drastically behind other developed nations in many ways. In our community, we see first-hand the damages caused by a lack of mental health services and affordable housing. On a nationwide scale, there are countless stories of individuals that lose everything because they get sick or injured without coverage. As one of the wealthiest and largest states in the country, the policies we promote become a template for others to follow. A big part of this should be removing money from politics. I am running to be a delegate for AD59 to promote progressive ideals and push for evidence-based policy reform. Given my background in data analysis and research, I believe I can offer a unique skill set for understanding our community’s problems.

Brendon Cooper

My name is Janet Denise Kelly. I am a passionate servant leader and mother of 4 amazing children. I earned my Bachelors degree from the University of California Los Angeles and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

I don’t think anyone can question my service or commitment to my community or to others because I spent my life as a leader and steward on issues that most people care about, such as racial justice, housing, economic opportunity and advancement, climate change, and community-building. I’ve spent over 25 years in the nonprofit sector, mainly in human services and housing. Beginning my career in fair housing, I developed a strong interest in housing issues and parlayed this interest into addressing homelessness, implementing community and economic development initiatives and building affordable housing opportunities.

I am an adaptive and responsive leader in the community. My leadership is demonstrated by the confidence my family, neighbors, and colleagues have in me to address issues, even contentious ones, with diplomacy, active listening, and attainable solutions.

I am the founder and Executive Director of Sanctuary of Hope, an organization that provides housing and education stabilization services for vulnerable youth, young adults, and young families, ages 16 -25, who are low-income, foster care, homeless, or at-promise in South Los Angeles and the South Bay.

Prior to Sanctuary of Hope, I was the Chief Operating Officer/Executive Director of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) where I helped hundreds of homeless individuals and families become safely housed and developed the affordable housing arm of the organization, PATH Ventures.

Throughout my career, I have fostered good relations with the community. I have been granted many community service awards. I serve on nonprofit boards, am a former Empowerment Congress Central Area Neighborhood Development Council Vice Chair and secretary, and participate in economic revitalization activities.

My greatest passion is South Los Angeles’ youth and bringing capital and social resources that will help them become successful and thrive .

I currently serve as an elected delegate to the California Democratic Party for Assembly District 59 and ask for your vote again to represent you and your interests to the Party.

Janet Denise Kelly

Hello there, I’m Brian Romero, a proud Democrat from South Los Angeles and a life-long community organizer. Most recently I served as the Reginal Get Out the Vote Director in Wisconsin for President-Elect Biden. I would be honored to continue my journey on rebuilding the country by advocating for policies that will improve standards of living in our neighborhoods, nation, and the world at large.

For the past 6 years, I’ve led City Year Los Angeles’ public funding portfolio which includes state grants, school partnerships and the largest AmeriCorps grant portfolio in the United States at $4.5 million. City Year is an education nonprofit that deploys 300 AmeriCorps members into low-income schools to serve as tutors, mentors and role models for at-risk students helping them reach graduation.

I’ve held a variety of key roles helping organizations combat some of the biggest challenges of our time. During the Obama-Biden Administration, I served as a grassroots operative educating Angelenos about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. In 2012, I served as the Deputy Reginal Field Director for President Obama’s reelection campaign. In my current role with City Year I help generate over $6 million in annual revenue from public dollars that reach over 28,000 students in 32 under-resourced schools in South LA. My background in nonprofit management, grassroots organizing, and passion have provided me with a deep understanding of the issues, challenges and needs confronting us.

As a Delegate, I plan on advocating for policies and ideas that will deliver results for South LA. We need to push for important priorities, like COVID relief, affordable housing, transportation, and ending police violence and investing in people, not prisons.

To a large extent, the United States has been pushed to the brink. Millions have lost everything to the pandemic. The unemployment rate is the highest it has ever been in a century. During these difficult times we need new ideas, new leaders, and innovative programs. This is not the time to go back to the way things were before. This is the time to imagine and build a 21st century economy that addresses racial inequalities and institutional fragility.

I hope to be elected as a Delegate for South LA to ensure we uphold our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, making it a central part of our work.

Brian R. Romero

My name is Derek Bryson, and I am running to be Assembly District Delegate 59th California Democratic Party. Born and raised in Peoria, Illinois I came out west to pursue my education and hold a BA from Pepperdine University. For 30 years, I worked in the film and television in administration, production, and post-production. Currently, I am a Union Steward for AFSCME 3090 District 36 working at Los Angeles World Airports as an Administrative Clerk. I am also Representative for the Los Angeles County Board of Labor Federation. A volunteer and member of the planning committee for Sea Change Leadership Political Action Committee and a member of the 37th Congressional District People’s Council. I serve as a member of AFSCME District Council 36 Political Advisory Committee. I was delegate to ASFCME International Convention in 2020 and a California At Large Delegate for the Democratic National Convention for President Elect Joe Biden. In 2008 and 2012, I was a volunteer for the Obama/Biden campaigns. In 2016, I was hired as a Field Organizer for Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in Nevada. Our coordinated campaign in Nevada led to electing the first Hispanic Congressman to the U. S. House of Representatives in Nevada and the First Latina elected to the United States Senate. We turned Nevada Blue. This year, I participated by making calls for Biden/ Harris campaign and door hanging and modified canvassing through Grassroots Dems and Sea Change for 25th Congressional District. Over the last four years, I have been active in phone banking, voter registration and canvassing to increase the strength of the Democratic Party in California. I humbly request your support and vote for as a delegate for Assembly District 59. Thank you for your consideration.


Derek Bryson

Derek Bryson

Edgar Campos is a 15-year veteran of Los Angeles’ political and civic arenas. He has held senior staff positions in the nonprofit sector, on electoral campaigns, as well as served on elected official staff teams in government and on ad-hoc projects as a consultant. Beyond working for preeminent nonprofit organizations, and successfully running several political and advocacy campaigns, he has served on several boards, and committees, including both the Mayor of Los Angeles’ GRYD (18’) and the California Board of Community Corrections Prop 47(19’) panels. Edgar began his early career working for college readiness programs and community organizing in South L.A. helping to distill complex policy issues impacting immigrant Latino and working-class African Americans for wide audiences in an effort to find community driven solutions that empower every day residents. Edgar is known for his holistic approach to community development. His history of work in immigration, education, criminal justice, and child welfare reform inform his understanding of the intersectionality of issues that factor into affordable housing, anti displacement initiatives and strategies that help families thrive in their home communities. Edgar holds a B.A. from UCLA and has an MBA with a focus in Non-Profit Executive Management. Video:

Edgar Campos

I’m Armida Reyes. I was raised in South Central LA by Salvadoran parents. Growing up in AD 59, I experienced the challenges my community faced. Attending school on the other side of LA at UCLA, I reflected on how close in proximity these two communities were but how different their realities are. I noticed the educational gap between a student from Santa Monica and someone from South Central, like myself. The people in my community deserve their voices to be heard and their needs to be met. Walking down the streets of Figueroa and Hoover and down the train tracks on Slauson, I experience the vibrancy of the community and the people I want to represent.

I want to be the next delegate for AD 59 to increase my community’s engagement with the Democratic Party and to bring my assembly district’s needs and incorporate them into the party’s priorities. I’ve had the honor to work at a Family Source Center during the pandemic in support of the distribution of the Emergency Renter’s Assistance Program. I am a huge advocate of our community and will always hold all of our leaders accountable. I do not fear having to stand up for the needs of my community. We need to demand change, for our people. I will stand up for small businesses and younger people who I hope I can inspire through this election.

I ask that you vote for Armida Reyes as a delegate for the CA Democratic Party for Assembly District 59! I will represent our community’s interests at the state level. Thank you!

Armida Reyes

Hello Beautiful Community! My name is Sandra Cook, but please call me Sandi. I’m a candidate for Delegate to the California State Democratic Party to represent the 59th Assembly District. The 59th covers Historic South-Central LA, where I was born and raised and South East Los Angeles which includes the communities of Florence-Firestone and Walnut Park. I’m running for Delegate because of our party’s platform of equality, liberty and justice for all and I work every day in our community to ensure that the issues that will turn this vision into reality, such as affordable housing, criminal justice and immigration reform, living wage jobs, quality education, access to healthcare are front and center at the decision-making tables. I pledge to continue to empower and fight for everyone in our diverse community because we are stronger together! I would be honored to represent our community as Delegate in the 59th Assembly District and humbly ask for your Vote!

Sandi Cook

Saludos/hello residents and voters of the 59th Assembly District. My name is Astrid Campos, and I am running to be your delegate. I am a proud Chicana/Mexicana, progressive, union organizer and Angeleno. I have spent my entire career fighting for racial, economic, and worker justice for Angeleno’s and all Californians. I have always been on the other side; pushing for the party and politicians to keep the promise they made to the community that voted for them but it’s time that I step up and IN. If elected, I will push that our party be the party of values and action. A party that stands for Medicare for All, immigration reform, Black Lives Matter, and a party free of corporate money or influence. I am asking for your vote. I want to represent my community, a community that has been ignored for too long but its desperate to be seen and HEARD. Si Se Puede!

Astrid Campos

I am asking for your support in my bid for reelection as a California Democratic State Central Committee member. In my last Candidate’s Statement, I said we live in a time of uncertainty, the fabric of our country is being destroyed, our norms and values are being trampled on, the political discourse in America has deteriorated drastically in recent years and we now have a President who takes issue with the truth and resorts to lies and misleading statements. Little did I know the next two years would bring such devastating heartache and pain to the American people. We now have chance to make things right again. It will be hard work, but it can be done, and I am committed to doing my part.

Thank you for your support.

Frances Braham