Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Tuesday April 3, 2018 — Special Election
Invest in unbiased information

With your support, we can reach and inform more voters.

Donate now to spread the word.

California State AssemblyCandidate for District 39

Photo of Luz Maria Rivas

Luz Maria Rivas

Science Educator/Commissioner
Use tab to activate the candidate button. Use "return" to select this candidate. You can access your list by navigating to 'My Choices'.
For more in-depth information on this candidate, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.
Candidate has provided information.
Thank candidate for sharing their information on Voter's Edge.

My Top 3 Priorities

  • Strengthen social services and mental health programs
  • Improve economic opportunity for all by helping small businesses compete and creating career training programs for higher paying jobs
  • Address the affordable housing crisis for both renters and future home owners



Profession:Science Educator/Commissioner
Commissioner, Board of Public Works, City of Los Angeles — Appointed position (2016–2017)


Harvard University Master of Education (Ed.M), Technology, Innovation and Education (2003)
MIT Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering (1995)


Luz Rivas​ has dedicated her professional career fighting to ensure that every Californian has the

opportunity to learn, prosper, and succeed.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT and a Masters Degree in Education from

Harvard, Luz has focused on encouraging young girls to pursue training and careers in science,

engineering and technology. As the founder of DIY Girls, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping

girls become interested in math and science, Luz has helped set thousands of young women on the path

towards economic empowerment, independence, and self-confidence.

Even as a child, Luz had a love of technology and science, and she has seen firsthand how these fields

can allow girls and boys to become successful professionals. She succeeded in part because adults

repeatedly encouraged her to develop an interest in technology. That’s why she has chosen to help other

young people find the same opportunity.

Luz was raised in the San Fernando Valley by a single mother who she cleaned bathrooms at a hospital

in Lakeview Terrace. Initially, the family rented a room in a house, and later lived in a converted garage

and back houses throughout the Valley. Her mother took night classes to learn English and office skills,

and ultimately got a new job.

As 5th grader at Telfair Elementary in Pacoima, Luz became interested in technology and engineering

when her teacher taught her class how to program an aging Apple IIe computer. That’s when she knew

that she loved technology. At Pacoima Middle School, she continued learning about computer science,

and at San Fernando High School, she enrolled in a state program that helped students excel in math and

science and go on to college in these fields.

While Luz was in high school, her mom was laid off, so Luz worked two jobs to save money for college.

Her math teacher encouraged her to apply to MIT and she was admitted. Initially, Luz was nervous about

leaving her family and friends in the San Fernando Valley, but a family friend loaned her $300 for a plane

ticket so she could visit the campus. She fell in love with the school and four years later, Luz graduated

from MIT with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

After working as an electrical engineer at Motorola, Luz’s passion to get kids interested in science and

technology led her to earn a Masters of Education from Harvard University. After graduating, she returned

to the Valley, and in 2012, Luz founded DIY Girls, a nonprofit based in the Valley that encourages girls to

become interested in science and technology. Since 2012, the program has served over 2000 girls in

grades 4-12, helping them develop skills and capabilities as engineers and designers. DIY Girls also

works with partner schools throughout the Valley to create new science and technology programs.

Most recently, Luz served as a City of Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner, where she continued her

gender equity work. In that capacity, she developed events to help women-owned businesses compete

for city contracts. And, she led a recruitment initiative for women engineers in Public Works by reaching

out to groups like the Society of Women Engineers to increase the number of women applicants.

Who supports this candidate?

Elected Officials (1)

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $983,521

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

California Association of Realtors and employees
Los Angeles Police Protective League
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians
SEIU California
SEIU Local 2015
Southern California Pipe Trades District Council 16

More information about contributions

By State:

California 94.28%
Illinois 1.75%
District of Columbia 1.50%
Tennessee 0.41%
Other 2.06%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.40%)
Small contributions (0.60%)

By Type:

From organizations (58.61%)
From individuals (41.39%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Candidate Contact Info

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.