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Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa Wins Re-election

By Juliette Jardim
March 9, 2009

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa won a landslide victory for his second term as mayor on March 3. He defeated his nine opponents with 56 percent of the vote, followed by Walter Moore who received only 26 percent. The other eight contenders all received less than ten percent.

Born in East Los Angeles, Villaraigosa became politically involved at the age of 15 when he volunteered with the farm workers’ movement. He attended UCLA where he received a B.A. degree in history, and graduated from the People’s College of Law.

He then served as an organizer for the United Teachers Los Angeles, in addition to President of both the Los Angeles chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Federation of Government Employees.

Villaraigosa started his career in politics in1994 when he was elected as a member of the California State Assembly. In 1998 he was elected Assembly Speaker. He then served as a member of the Los Angeles city council before being elected in 2005 as the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles in over a century.

Known for being one the top progressive voices throughout the country, in addition to creating bi-partisan coalitions, Villaraigosa’s mayoral platform focuses on managing Los Angeles’ most pressing issues such as transportation, education, economic development, and public safety.

Magic Johnson, former basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, introduced the mayor who addressed his supporters at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. Johnson complimented Villaraigosa’s hard work with the city’s public transportation and schools in addition to its low crime rates.

In his victory speech, Villaraigosa was quoted by the Los Angeles Times saying, “I know these are troubled times for many of our families... I have a simple message for Los Angeles tonight: we’re going to rebound out of this economic crisis and we will emerge stronger than ever.”

Villaraigosa is a Trustee of the Conference of Mayors and Chair of the Pverty, Work and Opportunity Task Force.