Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), who has been Southern Los Angeles’ Congressional representative since 1993, announced on Monday that she would not be running for reelection next year. Despite being in Congress for nearly three decades, Roybal-Allard announced her upcoming retirement on Monday, saying that she wanted to spend more time with her family.
A graduate of CSU Los Angeles and the daughter of former Congressman Edward Roybal, Lucille Roybal-Allard began her career in public relations in the 1960’s. While her family was in politics, Roybal-Allard herself did not run for office until the 1980’s. She was first elected to the state Assembly in 1987 following a special election and served until 1992. That year, she won her first Congressional election, taking the seat that had been held by her father since 1963 but had been open that year due to his retirement. Upon being elected, Roybal-Allard became the first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress.
For the last 30 years, Roybal-Allard has represented the district. Over the years she became the first Latina to become a member of the House Appropriations Committee and backed multiple bills ranging from more local ones supporting the expansion of the LA Metro and cleaning up the LA River to ones of a more national influence, such as bills stopping underage drinking and giving legal status to those brought illegally to the U.S. as minors.
“Serving my constituents in Congress has been the single most distinguished honor of my life. Over my many years of public service, I have always strived to do that which is best to help improve my community and my country,” said the Congresswoman in a statement on Monday. “After thirty years in the House of Representatives, the time has come for me to spend more time with my family. Therefore, I have decided not to seek reelection. While I will not be seeking reelection in 2022, I look forward to continue to work for the people of my district in the new year and long after I leave public office.”
Serving my constituents in Congress has been the single most distinguished honor of my life.
Over my many years of public service, I have always strived to do that which is best to help improve my community and my country. 1/3
— Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (@RepRoybalAllard) December 21, 2021
Not running in 2022
However, many political insiders have said that the real reason behind her retirement is the loss of her Congressional district due to redistricting. According to final redistricting lines, Roybal-Allard’s 40th district will be mostly absorbed by the Long Beach district to the South, currently held by fellow-outgoing Congressman Alan Lowenthal. With her mostly Latino district broken up and Roybal-Allard likely facing popular Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia in next year’s primary, Roybal-Allard became the latest Congressional Democrat to announce that they would be retiring next year.
Along with a Florida member of Congress announcing that they will not run on Monday, around two dozen Democrat Representatives, as well as about a dozen Republicans, have now left open seats for next years race. While the Democrats hope to keep their majorities at the mid-terms, the GOP is currently being projected to win at least the House in 2022, with the Senate also currently being largely in play.
“Roybal-Allard doesn’t want to admit that she would likely lose in her new district next year,” said Yolanda Martinez, a Los Angeles pollster specializing in Latino voters in LA County and Orange County, to the Globe on Tuesday. “Even if by chance she would win in the primary, she also doesn’t want to be known as the person who snuffed out a young Latino Democrats hope of making it to Congress. And that new district will be younger and far less Latino too, away from two of her main bases of support.”
“I’d call it a calculated retirement. She wants to go out on a high note before the Republicans move in.”
Barring any circumstance that would result in her leaving her seat early, Roybal-Allard is expected to leave her seat in January 2023, matching the 30 year span her father had previously served.