Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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October 3, 2017 — Special Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 51

Photo of David Vela

David Vela

College Professor
1,075 votes (4.7%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Fighting for educational equity- ensuring that our higher education systems are accessible and debt-free
  • Enacting programs that enhance the availability of affordable child care
  • Combatting the housing crisis by incentivizing the creation of more affordable housing and supporting local businesses to fight off gentrification



Profession:College Professor
Montebello School Board Member, Montebello Unified School District Board of Trustees — Elected position (2011–2015)


University of California, Los Angeles B.A. (current)


A native Angeleno who has had an extensive career in public service and progressive activism, David Vela is a former local School Board President and the founder of HONOR PAC, a political action committee that focuses on electing LGBT candidates statewide.


A proud product of Northeast LA and the Montebello Unified School District, Vela previously was elected on the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education, including serving as the governing body's president. Currently he works as Senior Vice President at the Lee Andrews Group, a people of color and women owned public affairs firm in Downtown Los Angeles.


While on the MUSD Board of Education, Vela created a perfect attendance program that improved the District's Average Daily Attendance to over 96%. He also implemented an aggressive anti-bullying program that was particularly focused on LGBT student victims.  David also helped lead the district to increased API and AYP scores, in addition to a 94% district graduation rate. David also led efforts to implement a college preparatory program called College Bound Today, which matches mentors with high school sophomores to guide them through the college application process. He has also been a champion for linked learning, spearheading one of the only pathways high schools in the United States, the Applied Technology Center. 


Prior to his time on the school board, Vela served as Senior Legislative Assistant to former State Assembly Member Jackie Goldberg, handling issues related to labor, transportation and economic development. Under Governor Gray Davis, he was Senior Advisor to the Employment Development Department. Vela also spent 10 years as a Senior Deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, where he oversaw two billion dollars in capital infrastructure improvements in unincorporated East Los Angeles. These projects included the East Los Angeles Civic Center, the Eastside Gold Line and the Whittier Boulevard Streetscape project.


Vela is also a passionate, outspoken environmentalist who has published numerous editorials in local media outlets to promote the importance of green jobs and the implementation of Prop 39 dollars in his district.


David received his Bachelors of Science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy with concentrations in Economics and International Relations from Pepperdine University in Malibu.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $249,405

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

David Vela For Assembly 2018
Orbach Huff Suarez & Henderson LLP
Buelna For College Board 2017
Employees of Arnulfo Ruiz
Employees of Quantum Management Company

More information about contributions

By State:

California 96.32%
Maryland 1.97%
New Jersey 1.00%
Colorado 0.40%
Other 0.30%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.76%)
Small contributions (0.24%)

By Type:

From organizations (73.33%)
From individuals (26.67%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

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