Former Mayor, Los Angeles, California
Antonio Villaraigosa, positioned squarely on the national stage, is considered a leading voice and champion of the “radical middle” in American politics. Known for his exceptional skill at building broad bi-partisan coalitions, he draws support from the broad center of both Democratic and Republican voters.
After graduating UCLA, he became a field representative and organizer for the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), quickly winning a reputation in labor circles as a gifted advocate. He became President of the Los Angeles chapter of the AFGE and the local chapter of the ACLU.
In 1990, he was appointed to the LA County Metropolitan Transit Authority, where he worked alongside County Supervisors and the Mayor of Los Angeles. In 1994, Villaraigosa won an upset victory in the primary and was easily elected in the general election.
In Sacramento, Villaraigosa quickly joined his party’s leadership team. In his first term, he was named Assistant Majority Leader and by the end of his first term he was serving as Majority Leader. In 1998, he was elected the first Speaker of the Assembly from Los Angeles in 25 years.
Villaraigosa ran for mayor of Los Angeles in 2001 and narrowly lost the election. In 2003, he won the 14th District Los Angeles City Council Seat. During his tenure on the City Council, he championed many of the issues he would later address as Mayor.
In 2005, Villaraigosa again sought the office of Mayor, this time finishing first in both the primary and the run-off elections. On July 1, 2005, he was sworn in as the 41st Mayor of Los Angeles. In 2009, he was easily elected to a second term. While term limits prevented Antonio Villaraigosa from serving a third term as Los Angeles Mayor, his broad and deep impact on the City of Los Angeles as well as on state and national issues has been unmistakable.