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Villaraigosa endorses former Assemblyman Cedillo in council race

February 15, 2013 |  6:35 pm

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa endorsed Gil Cedillo on Friday for a seat on the City Council, citing a longtime relationship with the former state assemblyman and praising what he said was a dedication to social justice.

Villaraigosa and Cedillo, who met as students at Roosevelt High School, grew up in East Los Angeles. The 1st Council District runs through that area, cutting a diagonal swath through Los Angeles from Pico-Union to Highland Park. Half the district’s registered voters are Latino, and almost 15% are Asian, according to city data.

"This is a man who's never forgotten where he comes from," Villaraigosa said.

During terms in the state Assembly and Senate, Cedillo was an outspoken advocate for driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. He also authored the California Dream Act, two bills signed into law in 2011 that make undocumented children under 16 eligible for financial aid.

"This district deserves leadership," Cedillo said to Villaraigosa during a news conference Friday. "... It's going to be a great honor to carry on your traditions and your exemplary leadership."

Cedillo has spoken out in the past against some of the controversial issues in the district. That includes the expansion of the 710 Freeway through the district and several nearby communities, including South Pasadena, La Cañada Flintridge and Glendale.

In endorsing Cedillo, Villaraigosa snubbed Jose Gardea, the chief of staff for current Councilman Ed Reyes and another candidate for the seat. Reyes cannot run for reelection because of term limits.

Cedillo has been endorsed by council President Herb Wesson, as well as Councilmen Paul Koretz, Bill Rosendahl and Richard Alarcon and Rep. Janice Hahn. He has the support of some major labor and business organizations, including the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. 


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-- Laura J. Nelson at Los Angeles City Hall