Since announcing her campaign on April 5, 25th Congressional District Candidate Ruth Luevanos spoke with supporters and empathized with voters during a Zoom meet and greet this past Saturday.
She addressed a wide array of issues and how she would approach them. Luevanos said she feels investing in public education systems would greatly benefit the district as well as nationwide. She stressed the importance of equal representation for immigrant, BIPOC and LGBTQ students, including legal representation for these students to ensure safety on campus.
Luevanos also stressed her support for and the importance of Medicare for All.
“Everyone deserves healthcare, regardless of your age, regardless of your status, everyone deserves healthcare,” she said. “Healthcare is a human right.”
Another key policy Luevanos said she’s focused on is improving immigration policies in the United States. In February 2020, Luevanos faced recall efforts and death threats from Simi Valley residents after posting a Facebook video advising immigrants of their rights in the event of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents coming to their homes. Recall efforts were unsuccessful, with Luevanos continuing to push for fair treatment for migrants and refugees.
“We have to provide a path of citizenship to the millions of immigrants that have been living here, paying taxes here, working here and contributing here,” Luevanos said. “I don’t know what we would do without all of the immigrants who are the essential workers that have kept our economy afloat during this pandemic at a dear cost.”
When later asked what legislation she would support if elected, Luevanos said she favored Senator Alex Padilla’s legislation with Pathway to Citizenship for immigrants in the United States, as well as support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protective Status.
“We need to lift up the voices that haven’t been heard,” Luevanos said as she concluded her introduction. “And I am here to be that voice. That is why I’m running for Congress. I’m not afraid, I will not back down, and I am here to listen, to support, to advocate, and to make sure that your voices are heard and our issues are finally addressed in our communities.”
Luevanos’ introduction was followed by an auction-style donation portion of the conference led by Saugus Union School District Trustee David Barlavi in which multiple attendees of the Zoom call pledged donations to Luevanos’ campaign.
Once attendees were then able to ask Luevanos questions regarding her campaign and policies.
Luevanos also emphasized the importance of environmental protections such as the Green New Deal, suggesting that current workers in energy fields be trained to transition to jobs in renewable energy. Additionally, she highlighted the need for investing in community infrastructure, including hospitals, roads, bridges, and schools.
Luevanos was also asked about her thoughts on defunding law enforcement.
“We need to look at what the purpose of law enforcement is in our criminal justice system,” she said. “I have seven years of formal study in the law, including my law degree and my major in criminal justice. And I can tell you it’s not working. It is not protecting and serving the people. Law enforcement was not intended to just simply protect property. It was intended to protect and serve people. I think that they have lost their way in terms of who public servants are and what they are supposed to do.”
“We need to reshift our priorities into building our communities,” Luevanos continued. “That’s where the money needs to go.”
After all questions had been asked, the meeting concluded with words of encouragement and praise from Barlavi, urging attendees to cast their votes for Luevanos and flip the 25th Congressional District blue in 2022.
“She’s a teacher to the bone, and that’s what we need out here,” Barlavi said. “Someone who’s progressive, and can show our voters the truth, and tell them the way things are in a way they can understand it, and support it, and get behind her. That’s what we need out here.”
Luevanos felt that the Zoom meet and greet went well, despite minor technical difficulties that come with virtual conferences. “I was glad to see so many people engaged and asking questions and interested,” she said. “I think it went really well; I was very happy with the turnout.”
Luevanos works as a social studies teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District and as a member of the Simi Valley City Council.
“I am a teacher, a 20-year veteran in the classroom, so I’m not worried about competition,” Luevanos said. “I’m in it for all the right reasons and to make sure that the community has their voices heard, and the more I reach out and talk to people in the community, the more excited they are. It just fuels me. I’ve met almost all the other candidates and so I encourage [competition]. The more people we have engaged in the civic process, I think, the better we all are.”
She is among four Democrats eyeing Rep. Mike Garcia’s (R-Santa Clarita) seat, including former Assemblywoman Christy Smith, project manager for the Skirball Cultural Center Rhoda Nazanin and Christopher Bellingham. Garcia is up for re-election next year after a narrow 333-vote win over Smith last November.
Virtual Zoom meetings with the Congressional candidate similar to the meet and greet last Saturday may be held as often as once a week, according to Luevanos. An official campaign kick-off video is scheduled for April 25 at 2 p.m.