Reelect State Assemblymember Lisa Calderon to keep AD-56 on the right track for progress.
State assemblymembers represent and advocate for the needs of their district constituents at the California State Capitol. They are responsible for creating, debating, and voting on legislation that addresses issues within their district.
The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the state Senate or the Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 56 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 19 seats. One seat is held by an Independent and four seats are currently vacant.
California’s 56th Assembly District includes parts of Los Angeles County. Democrats typically hold this district. Of the registered voters in this district, 21% are Republican and 49% are Democrat, and the district’s demographic breakdown is 55% Latino, 27% Asian, and 2% Black. After the 2021 redistricting process, AD-56 is 2% less Democratic than it was during the 2020 general election cycle. The most recent election results show that AD-56 voted for Joe Biden for president in 2020 by 33 points and Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018 by 30 points.
There are three candidates running for this seat, including Democrat Incumbent Assemblymember Lisa Calderon and Republican challenger Jessica Martinez. Calderon’s campaign has raised $561,543. She has accepted donations from corporate PACs, including nearly $30,000 from the pharmaceutical industry, $15,000 from the financial-services industry, and over $40,000 from the insurance industry. She has also accepted tens of thousands of dollars from the real estate industry, fossil fuel interests, and the police. Martinez’s campaign has not committed to refusing donations from corporate PACs, the fossil-fuel industry, the police, or the real estate industry. She has raised less than $10,000 for the current election cycle.
Assm. Lisa Calderon, a former community organizer and manager with Edison, is from the Central Valley and has lived in the district for 30 years. According to campaign materials, Assm. Calderon is running for reelection to continue fighting to ensure that all Californians have a fair shot. Assm. Calderon won her 2020 election against a Republican challenger by 21 points.
Assm. Calderon’s priorities for AD-56 this year have included 38 bills about reunification services for foster youth, adjusting care and extending insurance coverage for long-term and in-home care, improved emergency responses, and youth health, of which 29 has successfully passed the Assembly. Twelve have passed the Senate and been signed into law. She currently chairs the Human Services Committee, and sits on the Committees on Aging and Long-Term Care, Appropriations, Emergency Management, and Public Employment and Retirement. She scores a 77 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Assm. Calderon has supported some progressive bills that made it to a vote. That said, Assm. Calderon failed to vote on several bills aimed at reforming the criminal legal system, as well as bills to increase environmental protections and reduce carbon emissions. She has also authored legislation that would loosen privacy disclosures requirements by insurance agencies.
Prior to her election to the State Assembly, Assm. Calderon served as a legislative aide before working for decades as a manager with Southern California Edison. She is the daughter of farm laborers, and has long supported policies benefiting farmworkers and immigrants. In the Assembly, she authored legislation that broadened the social services offered to asylum-seekers. She also organized against California’s Prop 187, which aimed to bar undocumented immigrants from accessing public services, often through racial profiling. Despite her interest in these issues, Calderon’s policy positions remain somewhat vague, and several of the bills she authored in first Assembly term focused on minor, nonsubstantive updates to the language of existing legislation. She also worked for Edison, an energy corporation that has a stake in fossil fuels, for 25 years, up until she assumed her position in the State Assembly. As government affairs manager with Edison, she ran their corporate PAC. Her connection to corporate and fossil fuel interests raises concerns, especially given that her campaign is principally financed by large donations from corporations.
Assm. Calderon has the endorsement of many progressive groups, including California Environmental Voters and labor unions, like SEIU and the California Labor Federation. She is also endorsed by Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo, who has come under fire for his close ties to real estate development. But the threat of Republican challenger and strong Trump supporter Jessica Martinez’s potential policies greatly outweighs Calderon’s moderate legislative record and lack of campaign-finance pledges. Based on our analysis, Assm. Calderon’s track record and policy positions demonstrate that she will continue to be a representative leader for the constituents of AD-56 and will govern effectively in the best interest of this diverse district.