Simi Valley Councilwoman Ruth Luevanos announced Monday her candidacy to represent California’s 25th Congressional District in the November 2022 midterm election.
Luevanos, a Democrat, said she was encouraged to run for Congress by activists and grassroots organizers from the education, immigration, labor and progressive communities.
“There are a lot of new organizations that have popped up. These are all organizations that have come out of and been built on the needs of the community. And these were people that came to me and said, ‘We want you to run,’” she said.
Luevanos uses a Spanish proverb, which she translated as “let’s progress, let’s improve the next generation,” to describe her progressivism.
“Right now, we’re facing so many crises that we just don’t have time to compromise on,” she said, noting issues like climate change, education and infrastructure. “So, we have to take a stance. There are certain things that we just cannot stay silent about anymore.”
Luevanos, a teacher of 20 years, said she will be emphasizing education on the campaign trail.
“There is a need to improve the infrastructure in our public schools,” she said, highlighting the role schools play as “social safety networks” for their communities. “The reason why so many teachers and students were afraid to go back into the classroom is because we still have classrooms with mold and asbestos.”
Luevanos also represents teachers through her union at the continuation high school where she teaches. Ensuring her colleagues and labor have rights, benefits and a safe workplace is an issue that’s important for her, she said.
The daughter of immigrants, Luevanos will also make immigration a focus of her campaign. As a teacher, she said she sees the impact of xenophobia on her students.
“We’re losing funding when our immigrant students are afraid to come to school because they’re worried about being deported by (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement),” she said. “Talking about the southern border doesn’t address the needs of the millions of immigrants that have been living here, paying taxes here and contributing here for many, many years.”
Luevanos is the first Latina on the Simi Valley City Council, where she’s also the only registered Democrat on the non-partisan governing body. Organizers of a recent campaign to recall Luevanos suspended their efforts in February 2020.
She said she has been focused on the issues during her two years on the council.
“We’ve managed to address issues because we’re not sitting there having conversations about how does the Democrat or the Republican vote,” she said. “We’re talking about what the issues are.”
Luevanos cited the implementation of body-worn cameras for police and marking LGBTQ Month in Simi Valley as local examples.
She is the second Democrat in one week to jump into the race against incumbent Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, who defeated Democrat Christy Smith in a special and general election last year.
Smith, a former state assemblywoman and Newhall School District board member, announced her candidacy March 31.