Featured Speakers, Panelists and Framers
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Antonio R. Villaraigosa is the 41st mayor of Los Angeles. He was elected on May 17, 2005 and sworn in to office on July 1, 2005.
Villaraigosa is known for his exceptional skill at building broad bi-partisan coalitions and is considered one of the leading progressive voices in the country. His mayoral platform emphasizes finding solutions to the major issues facing Los Angeles including education, transportation, public safety, economic development and ethics.
Born Antonio Villar on January 23, 1953, in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, he is the oldest of four children raised by a single mother, Natalia Delgado. Villaraigosa graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School and attended UCLA, where he received a B.A. degree in history. He is a graduate of the People's College of Law.
At the age of 15, Villaraigosa began his lifelong involvement with the labor movement as a volunteer with the farm workers movement, later he served as a field representative/organizer with the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). He also is a past President of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Federation of Government Employees.
In 1994, Villaraigosa was elected to the California State Assembly; four years later, his colleagues elected him the first Assembly Speaker from Los Angeles in 25 years. While Speaker, Villaraigosa oversaw passage of landmark state legislation including the modernization of public schools, the toughest assault weapons ban in the country, the largest urban neighborhoods parks initiative in America, and the "Healthy Families" program that provides healthcare for over a half a million California children. He ran for mayor of Los Angeles in 2001 and narrowly lost the election. He then was appointed a distinguished fellow at UCLA and USC, where he helped write "After Sprawl" a policy blueprint for addressing the issues facing many urban centers.
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 is addressing today as Mayor and is widely credited with resolving the MTA transit strike, creating the largest passive park on the Eastside and Los Angeles, and protecting funding for the Arts. He was re-elected to a 2nd term in March, 2009.