August 21, 2020

Cárdenas Announces Candidacy for Assistant Speaker

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) announced his candidacy for the position of Assistant Speaker of the House. The letter copied below was sent to the House Democratic Caucus: 

“Today, after months of contemplation and conversations with my colleagues, wife, and family, it is with great humility that I announce my candidacy for Assistant Speaker of the House. I make this decision with a commitment of service in my heart and a vision of progress for our country. Together, we can make Congress more welcoming, diverse, and inclusive for ALL PEOPLE. 

“I was born and raised in Pacoima, the poor side of town, where children are told that their dreams are out of reach and we cannot amount to anything. But every night, my 10 siblings and I came home to parents who encouraged us to follow our dreams and told us that our circumstances did not determine our futures. My immigrant parents had very little formal education, yet, they were the best teachers and mentors I have ever known. They taught us the value of hard work and service, and I have carried those very values throughout my life and why I became a public servant. When I first sought elected office to serve the community that I grew up in, I was not welcomed. At the time, I was told that people of color, people from my neighborhood, had not and cannot get elected. But I did not let the naysayers deter me or extinguish my purpose. I was determined to break through that barrier of ignorance. I went on to become the first person from my neighborhood, the first person of color, to be elected to high office, but not the last. Today, we have five men and women of color from Pacoima who serve in high office.

“Throughout my life, I have been dedicated to empowering women and people of color – in the state legislature, Los Angeles City Council, and the United States Congress because I understand that representation matters. Since coming to Congress in 2013, the issues of diversity, inclusion, and justice have always been my priority. I have championed juvenile justice reform and fought to create a National Latino Museum, and now I want to tackle the long-standing problem of staff diversity in Congress. I know that I can get this done and I have the track record that proves it. For the past six years, I have been Chair of CHC BOLD PAC and have achieved unprecedented results. In two election cycles, we increased the number of Hispanic members from 25 to 39 and raised $17 million to elect Democrats. In this 2020 cycle, we are on track to raise more than $13 million and, once again, increase Hispanic representation in Congress. I am proud of our achievements and we are sharing our success beyond the CHC as we have endorsed and contributed to more than 130 non-Hispanic incumbents and candidates over the past six years. With your support, I will bring that experience, determination, and resourcefulness to the Democratic Caucus leadership table.

“With Congressman Ben Ray Luján moving on to the United States Senate, there will be no Latino Members at the leadership table. Our diversity is our strength. If we truly want to have success as a caucus fighting for the American people and ensure that no one gets left behind, we must have diversity at every level of the House.

“My mission as Assistant Speaker is simple: fight to maintain our Democratic majority and accomplish our Democratic priorities FOR THE PEOPLE.  In the coming weeks, I will be meeting with you, my congressional colleagues, to earn your support. I understand the significant challenges that lie ahead of us, and I believe that we are ready, willing, and committed to conquering those challenges. I appreciate you, and I look forward to our continued WORK FOR THE PEOPLE.”