Your guide to California's Assembly District 53 race: Inland Empire


  • Carlos Goytia, Democrat, education activist.

Goytia is a lifelong resident of Pomona, where he has been the senior groundsman for the Pomona Unified School District since 2001. His campaign biography says he has revived youth sports in his hometown and spearheaded park revitalization projects. He is on the board of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District Board, where he said he focuses on securing clean water for his community.

He is endorsed by the Fontana Democratic Club, California Democratic Renters Council and Inland Equity Votes. He lives in Pomona.

  • Javier Hernandez, Democrat, social justice advocate.

Hernandez is executive director of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, which advocates for immigrant rights in the Inland Empire. Hernandez is endorsed by the California Environmental Justice Alliance Action, Equality California and the California Nurses Assn.

His legislative priorities include investing in community safety, ensuring good jobs and quality schools, housing and universal healthcare, according to his campaign website.

Hernandez grew up in Pomona, Montclair and Ontario, all cities in District 53. He lives in Pomona.

  • Michelle Rodriguez, Democrat, a member of the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training.

Rodriguez is running to succeed her husband, incumbent Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez. Her legislative priorities include moving toward universal healthcare, addressing homelessness through property tax exemptions to developers who create 100% affordable housing units, and improving education by raising teachers’ salaries, according to her campaign website.

Rodriguez is endorsed by more than two dozen Assembly members, including Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Hollister). Also endorsing her is U.S. Rep. Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), who represents most of San Mateo County, and several law enforcement groups including the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. and the California Police Chiefs Assn. Her donors include law enforcement associations and commercial chains including Walmart, PepsiCo and McDonalds. Rodriguez did not respond to The Times’ survey request in time for publication.

  • Nick Wilson, Republican, nonprofit organizer.

Wilson served as a police officer for 13 years before retiring due to an injury, according to his campaign biography. He founded a nonprofit that focuses on first responder mental health and suicide prevention. In a campaign video he said homelessness, the financial crisis and families who struggle to put food on the table are issues he wants to address.

“Nothing is more important than parental rights and how we raise our children. Our state should not be in the business of co-parenting,” he said in a campaign video, citing that as the main reason for running. Wilson gave testimony during a Rocklin Unified School District Board meeting this year in support of a now-approved policy that requires school staff to inform parents if a child shows interest in changing their gender identity.

He is endorsed by the California GOP and several local law enforcement groups. He has received donations from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

  • Robert Torres, Democrat, Pomona City Council member.

Torres is a Pomona City Council member and the son of Democratic U.S. Rep. Norma Torres, who represents portions of the district in Congress. In his campaign website biography, he said he was raised in a union household and was once a union warehouse worker. The California Democratic Party endorsed Torres with 72 % of the vote. He is also endorsed by Democratic Reps. Grace F. Napolitano, Katie Porter and Adam B. Schiff, as well as California State Treasurer Fiona Ma and SEIU California. His donors include SEIU Local 1000 and SEIU United Healthcare Workers West PAC.

His legislative priorities include expanding after-school programs, addressing homelessness by getting people off the street and into supportive housing with treatment, and creating equitable housing through good-paying construction jobs, according to his website.

He lives in Pomona.



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