NORTH HOLLYWOOD (CNS) - United States Congressmember Tony Cárdenas (D- North Hollywood) has announced Monday he will not seek reelection and will endorse Assemblymember Luz Rivas in the 2024 election.
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Cárdenas told the Los Angeles Times he was planning to retire following the end of his current term in January 2025.
The 60-year-old has served three decades in public service, including 10 years in the U.S. House.
"It will be the first time in 28 years that I'm not on the ballot," Cárdenas told the Times. "The truth of the matter is I thought I could do this just for a few years. ... I'm just at the age where I have enough energy and experience to maybe do something [different] and have another chapter of a career where I don't have to go to Washington, D.C., 32 weeks out of the year."
Sen. Alex Padilla joined Cárdenas at a Monday news conference at Andres and Maria Cárdenas Elementary School, named in honor of Cárdenas' parents -- lauding Cárdenas as someone who "stepped up to run for office at a time when Latinos didn't see ourselves represented in positions of power."
"His decision to enter public service and his approach to politics opened the door for many others to follow, including many who couldn't have imagined running for office, including myself," Padilla said
After previous stints in the Assembly and on the Los Angeles City Council, Cárdenas was first elected to Congress in 2012. His district covers Arleta, Pacoima, Sun Valley, North Hollywood, Panorama City, Van Nuys, Lake Balboa, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, Reseda, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village and San Fernando.
"His impact stretches beyond his many legislative achievements, as a champion for the hardworking families in the San Fernando Valley," Padilla said. "I'll truly miss his partnership in Congress."
Cárdenas served as Assemblyman from 1996 until 2002, during which he secured $650 million for new school construction. He also introduced legislation bolstering gang prevention and intervention programs. He served on the City Council from 2005 to 2013 as the 6th District representative, which covers some neighborhoods of the 29th Congressional District.
During his time on the council, Cárdenas chaired the Business Tax Reform, Energy and Natural Resources, Gang Violence and Youth Development committees. He also sat on the Budget and Finance, and Housing, Community and Economic Development committees.
He has also been an advocate for green energy, justice reform and animal rights, among other issues.
Cárdenas quickly endorsed Rivas, D-North Hollywood, as his successor in the solidly Democratic district -- which will likely attract a large number of hopefuls for the congressional seat.
Rivas, 49, told the Times she is tired of the "constant state of dysfunction" the Republican Party has exhibited since the ouster in October of Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy.
"Our constituents are paying the price," Rivas said in a Saturday phone interview with the Times. "Residents of the San Fernando Valley deserve a member of Congress that will focus on their needs, like I have in the state Legislature."
Rivas is vying to be the first Latina to represent the district in Congress. Cárdenas became the first Latino to represent the district in 2012 when he was elected to Congress.
"Luz is a genuine public servant who has dedicated herself to delivering opportunities for the Valley," Cárdenas told The Times. "She gets things done, and has always put working families first. I am proud to support Luz for Congress."
Rivas became a member of the California Assembly in 2018 following the resignation of Raul Bocanegra, who was the subject of a sexual harassment investigation.
Rivas chairs the Natural Resources Committee in the Assembly and secured millions of dollars in funding for her district. She is the author of 18 bills, 11 of which became laws.