Tony Cárdenas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tony Cárdenas
U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 29th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Adam Schiff
Member of the Los Angeles City Council from the 6th district
In office
July 1, 2003 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Ruth Galanter
Succeeded by Nury Martinez
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 39th district
In office
Preceded by Richard Katz
Succeeded by Cindy Montañez
Personal details
Born Antonio Cárdenas
(1963-03-31) March 31, 1963 (age 51)
Pacoima, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Norma Cárdenas[1]
Children Four
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater University of California, Santa Barbara (B.S.)
Religion Christian[1]
Website Representative Tony Cardenas

Antonio "Tony" Cárdenas (born March 31, 1963) is an American politician who has served as the United States Representative for California's 29th congressional district since January 2013.

Cárdenas was previously a member of the Los Angeles City Council, representing the Sixth Council District which covers portions of the northeast San Fernando Valley, including the communities of Arleta, Pacoima, Sun Valley, North Hollywood, Panorama City, Van Nuys and Lake Balboa.

Cárdenas was elected to the California State Assembly for three consecutive terms and served as chair of the budget committee. In 2003, he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council and re-elected in 2007 and 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Cardenas was elected to Congress in November 2012.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Cárdenas was born March 31, 1963 in Pacoima, California.[1] He is one of eleven children of Andrés Cárdenas and María Quezada, who immigrated to the United States shortly after marrying in Jalisco, Mexico in 1946.[3] Andrés Cárdenas was a farmworker near Stockton, California before the family relocated to Pacoima in 1954.[3]

Cárdenas earned a degree in electrical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1986.[1]

California Assembly[edit]


In 1996, Cárdenas ran for California's 39th State Assembly district after Democrat incumbent Richard Katz decided not to run for re-election. He defeated Republican Ollie McCaulley 72%-28%.[4] In 1998, he won re-election to a second term with 87% of the vote.[5][6] In 2000, he won re-election to a third term with 78% of the vote.[7][8]


Cárdenas' state reforms brought 78,000 new classroom seats and 15 playgrounds throughout Los Angeles. He also secured more than $650 million for new school construction.

He authored legislation that reformed California’s gang prevention and intervention programs and teamed up with fellow Democrat Adam Schiff to create the Schiff-Cárdenas Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act.[9]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Budget (Chair)

Los Angeles City Council[edit]


In 2002, Cárdenas ran for Los Angeles City Council's 2nd district. Wendy Greuel defeated him 50.4%-49.6%, a difference of 225 votes.[10][11] In 2003, he ran for the City Council's 6th district. He defeated Jose Roy Garcia 69%-31%.[12] In 2007, he won re-election to a second term with 66% of the vote.[13] In 2011, he won re-election to a third term with 58% of the vote.[14]


Cárdenas was a major animal rights activist. He authored legislation that created Los Angeles' first Animal Cruelty Task Force, which arrest animal abusers. One of the task force's first felony convictions put a gang member to jail for abusing a family pet. He supported City's mandatory spay/neuter ordinance to reduce the number of stray and homeless animals.

He strongly supported green energy. He proposed the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard that established goals for the city's Department of Water and Power to obtain at least 20% of its energy from wind and solar. He also proposed a plan that would convert all of the city's taxis to be fuel efficient by 2015.[15]

He brought his passion for juvenile justice to the Los Angeles City Council. As Chair of the City's Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development, Cárdenas identified millions of dollars overlooked by the City to help keep kids off the streets, and reduced crime while reducing expenditures on crime abatement programs. As Vice Chair of the City's Public Safety Committee, Cárdenas spearheaded the most comprehensive gang intervention model in the country. The Community-Based Gang Intervention Model standardized and defined the methods used by gang intervention workers to help stop violence in some of Los Angeles' most dangerous neighborhoods.[16]

In 2012, Cárdenas also passed landmark amendments to the City's daytime curfew ordinance. The new policy eliminated costly fines of up to $500 that students were facing. It also reduced lengthy court visits for parents and students and gave students the opportunity to do community service to eliminate citations.[17]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Business Tax Reform (Chair)
  • Energy and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Gang Violence and Youth Development (Chair)[18]
  • Budget and Finance
  • Housing, Community and Economic Development

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


In 2012, he decided to run for the newly redrawn California's 29th congressional district after redistricting. In the June open primary, he ranked first with 64% of the vote. Independent David Hernandez, President of the San Fernando Chamber of Commerce, ranked second with 22% of the vote, qualifying for the November election. Richard Valdez ranked third with 14% of the vote.[19] In the November general election, Cardenas defeated Hernandez 74%-26%.[20][21]

Committee assignments[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Noted Chicano literature author Luis J. Rodriguez is Cardenas' brother-in-law.[22]

Cárdenas lives in the San Fernando Valley with his wife Norma and their children.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Ramirez, Rosa (November 1, 2012). "California, 29th House District". National Journal. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ Castro, Tony. "Tony Cardenas becomes newest California Congressman". Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Hymon, Steve (May 7, 2006). "Sons Live Out a Dream". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Cárdenas, Tony. "A guide for understanding effective community-based gang intervention". 
  17. ^ Abdollah, Tami. "L.A. City Council unanimously approves changes to daytime curfew law". Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Tony Cardenas (D)". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 

External links[edit]

California Assembly
Preceded by
Richard Katz
California State Assemblyman
39th district

Succeeded by
Cindy Montanez
Political offices
Preceded by
Ruth Galanter
Los Angeles City Councilmember,
6th district

July 1, 2003 – January 3, 2013
Succeeded by
Nury Martinez
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Adam Schiff
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 29th congressional district

January 3, 2013-present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Cheri Bustos
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Matt Cartwright