Lundquist Concedes But the Tide of Activism Was Historic

Loraine Lundquist conceded her loss on Wednesday evening, as her opponent, John Lee, takes the 12th District seat. 

Over the last several days, AFSCME members had joined hundreds of other volunteers dedicated to getting out the vote for Lundquist. Despite the loss, however, Lujndquist saw a historic transformative upswing in progressive activism in this traditionally conservative District.

AFSCME District Council 36 offers our congratulations to Lee on his election victory.

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POSTED ON MONDAY: Dr. Loraine Lundquist, a first-time candidate for political office and an astrophysicist by profession, has won the endorsement of Council 36 in her bid to fill the Los Angeles City Council's District 12 seat in the West Valley.  She faces off against John Lee, a veteran political aide at City Hall, in a Special Election on Tuesday, August 13. 

Council 36 represents about 7,000 Los Angeles City employees across six different Locals who are directly affected by the City Council’s policy decisions.  In effect, this race represents their next opportunity to elect another boss.  Based on Council 36’s endorsement of Lundquist, a group of AFSCME members and staff will be volunteering to get out the vote for her over the coming days, particularly this Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. (Click link above if you can join us!)

Both candidates had sought the union's endorsement and met with a cadre of AFSCME Local leaders and Council 36's Political and Legislative Action Committee at a forum on July 26th. Both stuck closely to their standard campaign talking points -- which in most cases, reflected their sharply divergent views.  Some of the questions concerned the outsourcing of City jobs to private contractors, the "use and abuse" of the City's Part-Time workers who are largely denied job security, health care and other benefits that Full-Time workers receive, and public health concerns -- including a reportedly serious rat infestation at City Hall.

Lundquist, a self-described "scientist and mom who is deeply, deeply concerned about Climate Catastrophe," cast herself as a strong supporter of working people and of public services. She noted that she was ever-present on the picket lines of the LAUSD teachers' strike last year.  She also condemns nonunionized charter schools for admission practices that she said, "routinely discriminate against kids who are disabled or otherwise disadvantaged," and unlike Lee, supported an ill-fated ballot measure (Measure EE) in the spring, which both Mayor Eric Garcetti and organized labor championed as a solution for funding local public education. 

By contrast, Lee took the opportunity to snub Lundquist's brand of progressive politics, saying, "My opponent is the status quo, while I bring a more independent voice."  His chief goal is "cutting all of the wastefulness and bureaucracy" in the school district and at City Hall. When asked to elaborate on this point, however, Lee paused for several moments before declining to provide specifics on what he felt was wasteful.