Red Reps 8 here.
Gil Cedillo is undoubtedly one of California’s most radical legislators, both in the State Senate and now as an Assembly member, representing the 45th District (Los Angeles).
Cedillo has championed drivers licenses for illegal aliens and has twice (2006,2011) introduced a version of the DREAM Act into California State Assembly. The proposed law would grant qualifying undocumented college students access to institutional financial aid and Cal Grants from the University of California, California State University and Community Colleges.
Cedillo announced the introduction of the California Dream Act with a “coalition of business, education and labor leaders” including, Javier Nunez, President, Executive Board, Laborers International Union, Local 300, socialist affiliated Kent Wong, Director, UCLA Labor Center, the National Council of La Raza, Nancy Ramirez, Western Regional Counsel, MALDEF and David Huerta, Regional Vice President, SEIU United Service Workers West.
Through his ties with labor unions and community organizations, Cedillo actively organized an opposition campaign to Proposition 187, California’s 1994 initiative to ban public benefits such as health care and education to undocumented immigrants. His efforts culminated in a 150,000-person march, one of the largest mass marches in the history of Los Angeles.
Cedillo was also candidate for California’s 32nd Congressional district seat, vacated by fellow socialist Hilda Solis. California’s 32nd Congressional District Special Election, 2009, was held on May 19, 2009. Cedillo lost the Democratic primary against Board of Equalization Member and another far leftist, Judy Chu .
For many years Cedillo has been a close friend and political ally of Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who he has known since high school.
Through an Upward Bound program, Cedillo was accepted at UCLA. Villaraigosa went to East Los Angeles College and then transferred to UCLA. The friends both became active in Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan or MEChA, a radical Chicano separatist group with a strong Marxist-Leninist underpinning.
Both attended the Peoples College of Law, a night school dedicated to producing public-interest lawyers. Peoples College of Law was founded in 1974 by the Asian Law Collective, the La Raza National Lawyers Association and the communist affiliated National Conference of Black Lawyers and the National Lawyers Guild.
Villaraigosa and Cedillo and worked on the C.A.S.A. newspaper, Sín Fronteras. “At CASA, we wanted to organize the undocumented into unions, instead of seeing them as a threat,” Cedillo said
Cedillo served as General Manager of the Service Employees International Union, Local 660, from 1991 to 1996, Los Angeles County’s largest union representing nearly 50,000 workers. As General Manager, he led the “Rolling Thunder” campaign, a series of one-day strikes throughout Los Angeles County, in a “monumental struggle” to preserve jobs and benefits, and prevent the dismantling of the county’s public health system. Cedillo’s campaign was credited with securing $364 million in federal assistance.
The Southern California Friends of the People’s Weekly World tribute to two of Los Angeles’ finest labor leaders, Jerry Acosta and Gilbert Cedillo, became a dynamic rally of elected officials, activists, labor and community leaders in solidarity with labor struggles and in the fight to defeat the ultra-right in November…
“The People’s Weekly World and all of us in this room feel very strongly about who we honor today,” said Evelina Alarcon, chair of the Southern California District and national secretary of the Communist Party USA, one of the emcees of the tribute. “Jerry Acosta and Gilbert Cedillo represent the new fightback vision of the Sweeney, Trumka, Chavez-Thompson leadership in the AFL-CIO. They represent the rank and file that is pushing from the bottom for that new vision!”
According to the World, Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, brother of Southern California Communist Party leader Evelina Alarcon, spoke on behalf of the council which adopted a resolution honoring Acosta and Cedillo:
“Gil Cedillo and Jerry Acosta have changed the whole dynamic of what it means to be for the working class and what it means to fight for workers rights. Because of them and other labor leaders, we have seen a resurgence of strength of the least empowered in our country…”
Presentations to the honorees were also made by Clara James, chair of the Community Affairs Commission of the Second Baptist Church, on behalf of Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Antonio Aguilar, on behalf of State Senator Hilda Solis.
In June 2008, the Socialist International Migrations Committee held a Migrations Reform, Integration, Rights forum in Los Angeles.
Democratic Socialists of America, the US’s largest Marxist organization and the SI’s main U.S. affiliate, was represented by D.S.A. National Director Frank Llewellyn, plus Duane Campbell and Dolores Delgado Campbell of D.S.A.’s Anti-Racism and Latino networks.
California State Senator Gil Cedillo, was also in attendance
In January 2008, California State Senator Gil Cedillo, and former state Democratic Senator Martha Escutia of Los Angeles, were two of the first prominent Latino politicians in Southern California to endorse Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Most local Latino politicians then favored Hillary Rodham Clinton, including Cedillo’s old friend Antonio Villaraigosa, who served as Clinton’s national campaign chair.
Just another cheeky little California Red.
Mr. Loudon’s Obama Files articles are also listed at NewZeal.