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On Tuesday April 4, there will be 24 (yes, 24) candidates running in Los Angeles’ 34th Congressional District, a seat that is vacated, now that Xavier Becerra is California’s attorney general. Of those 24 candidates, 15 of them are Latino, and since the Los Angeles area is one of Latino USA’s largest listener and digital audiences, we wanted to create a mini-voter guide for that community. So this past Saturday morning, Latino USA reached out to the race’s 15 Latino candidates and emailed them a few questions about why they were running. Here are the responses we received from five of the candidates who replied, in alphabetical order:

Wendy Carrillo

Party: Democrat
Website: votewendycarrillo.com

Wendy Carrillo (Photo by Rafael Cardenas)

Why is your candidacy different from others in this race?
Politics as usual simply doesn’t cut it anymore, and neither do candidates as usual. We need to expand our definition of experience and consider the importance of lived experience, not just the “right” experience.

I’m a product of local public schools. I’m a human rights journalist, I’m formerly undocumented, I’ve fought for labor rights, I spent two months at Standing Rock, I’m an unrecognized refugee—but most importantly I’ve lived the American Dream and will unapologetically defend it at a time when our Constitution and our values are under attack.

If elected, I would be the first formerly undocumented woman in Congress. I would also be the first Salvadoran-American in the House of Representatives, at a time when our Congress is overwhelmingly white, male, and rarely shares the lived experience of millions of Latinos in our country. My candidacy is different because in this crucial moment in our nation’s history, we need unapologetic and fearless activists who will stand up to this racist administration.

What are the three most important issues facing Latinos in your district today?
I believe that we as a progressive moment are more powerful when we understand that many of the top issues that are important to the Latino community—education, jobs, immigration—and beyond are interconnected. Too often we get caught up by saying “these top three issues” or “the number one issue” rather than understanding that if we as Latinos also support Black Lives Matter then we are more powerful as a progressive movement and advance all these issues as a whole. I believe that women’s rights are human rights, that love is love is love is love, that Black Lives Matter, that the Fight for $15 should be national, that we should Say Her Name, that Mni Wiconi (Water is life), that no human being is illegal and we’re Here to Stay, that Science is real, and that Sí, Se Puede.

So while I am a proud Latina who will boldly defend the issues important to our community, I am also a loud progressive who will unapologetically fight for these values.

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Ricardo De La Fuente

Party: Democrat
Website: ricardo4congress.com

Ricardo De La Fuente

Why is your candidacy different from others in this race?
My candidacy is wholeheartedly about the people of District 34.  I am here to listen to my constituents’ concerns and to react accordingly. I provide my personal mobile number to voters along along the campaign trail to encourage direct feedback. Thus, I have heard people’s concerns about Donald Trump’s  policies, fears of losing their healthcare, and opposition to his immigration issues. In reaction, I am more astute to the necessity of standing up to the president’s damaging policies. I am ready to fight for the rights of the people of District 34!

What are the three most important issues facing Latinos in your district today?
Latinos are most needing the following: 1) Access to quality affordable health care; 2) A good education and 3) They want to see an end to the President’s new immigration policies. Without appropriate healthcare, Latinos are unable to live happy and healthy lives and to reach their fullest potential to give back to society. A good education gives Latinos the background they need to elevate their socioeconomic status and to provide appropriately for their families. And finally, but most importantly, we need to stop Donald Trump’s immigration reforms. Sanctuary cities must continue to be supported and ICE raids must come to a halt.

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Melissa “Sharkie” Garza

Party: Democrat
Website: sharkieforcongress.com

Melissa “Sharkie” Garza

Why is your candidacy different from others in this race?
My platform is about finding the proper balance between both parties so that we can work bipartisanly on issues that affect everyone here in the district and America. As a society, I believe we need a spiritual awakening where we can learn about others through empathy and tolerance. I believe emotional intelligence training and self-defense should be commonplace in school starting at an early age. Schools should also have a doctor, nurse, and psychologist on duty, to provide healthcare to students. I believe healthcare is a human right and we should ultimately work towards a universal system here in the United States. In a world where cash is life, we need to change that dynamic and put the quality of people’s lives first. We need to fight income inequality and make sure large corporations are paying their fair share. I support shared co-op workplaces where workers share their profits and I am a futurist—I believe automation of the future should allow people to have more free time to spend with friends, family, and their community.

What are the three most important issues facing Latinos in your district today?
The most important issues facing Latinos today are healthcare, education, and immigration. With the current administration, our livelihood has been in jeopardy to the fate of capitalism at its worst. We need to push for a medicare for all single payer healthcare system. People’s well-being should not be compromised, we need to value the health and welfare of our citizens to maintain a positive environment as a whole. As for education, we need to make sure that we get high profits out of education at the cost of our students. We need to ensure every child gets a quality educated no matter what the circumstances are for the parents. In addition, childhood poverty should also be put to an end in this district and beyond. In regard to immigration, we need to make sure that we are not tearing families apart first and foremost. I will work hard to make sure we can streamline the bureaucratic system that immigration entails and do my best to find ethical ways that enforce our laws that do not infringe on the civil liberties of Americans. We need to make sure all our borders (land, air, and sea) are secured.

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Jimmy Gomez

Party: Democrat
Website: jimmygomezforcongress.com

Jimmy Gomez

Why is your candidacy different from others in this race?
Whoever is elected will have to hit the ground running from day one. As a state legislator for the 51st District since 2012, I have a record of passing progressive legislation including expanding paid family leave in California and redirecting cap and trade funds back into our communities that need the most help fighting the effects of climate change. Further, I have worked closely with my communities to fight to get the state services they deserve. I also know that I need to work for the needs of my constituents, which is why I have held over 90 community events in the last 4 years to understand what is working and not working for them. I will take this experience and grassroots approach to Washington to do the most good for the most people.

What are the three most important issues facing Latinos in your district today?
Health Care: The threatened repeal of the Affordable Care Act (or parts of it) is the biggest threat facing Latinos. Few groups have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act as much as Latinos. I will be a strong opponent to any attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and a vocal advocate for universal coverage.

Immigration Reform: Unlike Donald Trump, I believe in our constitution, and that immigration and diversity contributes to the fabric of this country and makes America stronger. Splitting up families is morally wrong. I will stand up and fight for all of us who are threatened by this agenda of fear and division as we have done here in California, including protecting DACA and moving forward on comprehensive immigration reform.

Equality: California’s progress is under assault by Washington Republicans. I will fight income inequality by protecting legislation that funds education programs and day care, as well as family leave, minimum wage increases, safety net programs, collective bargaining protections for workers and to create more jobs. I will also fight environmental inequality to keep environmental protections in place and focus resources in communities that are affected by pollution and climate change as well protect our civil liberties.

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William Rodriguez Morrison

Party: Republican
Website: https://www.crowdpac.com/campaigns/142190/william-rodriguez-morrison-a-better-california-for-all-america

William Rodriguez Morrison

Why is your candidacy different from others in this race?
I am running for this seat for one reason I can do better for my community as the Congressman with integrity and my working with the district for many years I can bring back the TRANSPARENCY back from all the over spending of our tax dollars. I have the heart and soul for the people. I am not here for the money. It is for the right of all the people.

What makes me stand up above all the rest of the candidates is that I see the pain of the businesses every day and the people I am out there walking in the community and meeting and fighting for their rights. Not for the money but from my heart of God. No other candidate can say this. I have been a Block Captain for over 30 years on my block and it is a true shame when are elected officials forget about the people they that served this district. They claim they do only during election time. I am out there every day. That is the true difference between me and them.

What are the three most important issues facing Latinos in your district today?
My main issue are homeless vets, immigration and senior citizens.

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Latino USA also contacted all the other Latino candidates in this race, but at the time that this post was published, it had not receive a reply from these candidates: Vanessa Aramayo, Maria Cabildo, Alejandra Campoverdi, Arturo Carmona, Yolie Flores, Sara Hernandez, Sandra Mendoza, Raymond Meza, Mark Edward Padilla and Armando Sotomayor.

Last week, Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) ran a more detailed guide that featured almost all of the 24 candidates. The Los Angeles Times has also been featuring this race. Early voting has already passed, but if you live the in district and plan to vote on April 4, you can find your polling location here. And local LA media will be tracking this race closely.