Lorena Gonzalez

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Lorena Gonzalez
Gonzalez headshot.jpg
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 80th district
Assumed office
May 28, 2013
Preceded byBen Hueso
Personal details
Lorena Sofia Gonzalez[1][2]

(1971-09-16) September 16, 1971 (age 48)
Oceanside, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Nathan Fletcher
ResidenceSan Diego, California
Alma materStanford University (BA)
Georgetown University (MA)
University of California, Los Angeles (JD)
ProfessionLabor organizer

Lorena Sofia Gonzalez Fletcher[3] (born (1971-09-16)September 16, 1971) is an American politician currently serving in the California State Assembly. A Democrat, she represents the 80th Assembly District, which encompasses southern San Diego. She was first elected to the Assembly in a 2013 special election to succeed Ben Hueso, who was elected to the State Senate in a special election.

Gonzalez successfully sponsored and passed multiple pieces of legislation in California aimed at increasing healthcare access and putting more protections in place for workers. In 2016, she helped raise the minimum wage in California, which will now increase by $1 each year until full implementation at $15 per hour in 2020. She introduced Assembly Bill 5, which passed in September 2019 and required many workers to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors, giving workers more protections under labor and minimum wage laws.[4][5] However she has come under heavy criticism from multiple unintended casualties of the freelance industry for whom the broad and vague legislation has caused massive losses of income and opportunity. Most notably from freelance writers, for whom the AB5 language on the number of submissions allowable to one company (35 per year) are by Gonzalez's own admission completely arbitrary and by writers testimony a very low number.[6]

In 2015, The Atlantic called her as "the California Democrat setting the national agenda."[7] In December 2016, POLITICO Magazine named her one of its Top 50 "thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics."[8]

Early life, education, and personal life[edit]

Gonzalez is the daughter of an immigrant farmworker and her mother was a nurse.[citation needed] She attended public schools in San Diego County before earning a bachelor's degree from Stanford University, a master's degree from Georgetown University, and a Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law.

Gonzalez served as Senior Adviser to former California Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, as well as appointee to the California State Lands Commission and alternate on the California Coastal Commission. A community organizer and activist, Gonzalez was elected in 2008 as CEO and Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO. She is the first woman and person of color to be elected to head the Labor Council since the organization was founded in 1891.[citation needed]

On January 1, 2017, she married former assemblyman Nathan Fletcher; the two had been dating since 2015.[9] As of 2014, Gonzalez lived in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego with her husband and the couple's five children.[10]

California government career[edit]

2005 San Diego City Council race[edit]

Gonzalez ran for San Diego City Council during a 2005 special election and advanced to a runoff against future San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. However, Gonzalez ultimately lost the race to Faulconer by a margin of 724 votes out of 29,448 cast.[11]

California State Assembly[edit]

Gonzalez was elected to California's 80th State Assembly district in a special election held May 21, 2013. She defeated former Chula Vista Councilmember Steve Castaneda with 70.75% of the vote.[12]

The current[when?] Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, Gonzalez became the first Latina to ever serve as the Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee in 2016. Gonzalez also serves on the Assembly Committee on Education, the Assembly Committee on Health, the Assembly Committee on Insurance, the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife; and the Assembly Committee on Rules.[13] She is also the first Chair of the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace.[14]

2014 California State Assembly[edit]

California's 80th State Assembly district election, 2014
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lorena Gonzalez (incumbent) 25,953 100.0
Total votes 25,953 100.0
General election
Democratic Lorena Gonzalez (incumbent) 43,362 100.0
Total votes 43,362 100.0
Democratic hold

2016 California State Assembly[edit]

California's 80th State Assembly district election, 2016
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lorena Gonzalez (incumbent) 55,150 74.6
Republican Lincoln Pickard 14,015 19.0
No party preference Louis J. Marinelli 4,753 6.4
Total votes 73,918 100.0
General election
Democratic Lorena Gonzalez (incumbent) 84,780 76.7
Republican Lincoln Pickard 25,703 23.3
Total votes 110,483 100.0

2018 California State Assembly[edit]

California's 80th State Assembly district election, 2018
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (incumbent) 38,449 70.5
Republican Lincoln Pickard 16,107 29.5
Republican Joseph Viveiros (write-in) 3 0.0
Total votes 54,559 100.0
General election
Democratic Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (incumbent) 82,621 75.0
Republican Lincoln Pickard 27,563 25.0
Total votes 110,184 100.0
Democratic hold

2020 California State Assembly[edit]

2020 California's 80th State Assembly district election
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Lorena Gonzalez (incumbent) 56,872 72.7
Republican John J. Vogel 13,999 17.9
Republican Lincoln Pickard 7,334 9.4
Total votes 78,205 100.0
General election
Democratic Lorena Gonzalez (incumbent)
Republican John J. Vogel
Total votes


Lorena Gonzalez marching in the 2014 San Diego LGBT Pride Parade


Gonzalez created AB 746, which requires public schools to test their drinking water for lead.[15] This legislation was signed into law by Governor Brown in 2017.[16] Gonzalez sponsored a law requiring school children to get vaccinated unless they have a medical exemption.[17]


Gonzalez sponsored AB 2051, which makes it easier for affiliate primary care clinics to enroll into Medi-Cal and Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment.[18][19] Gonzalez sponsored AB 2347, which requires specific notices to be placed on the cover page of annuities and life insurance policies.[20]


AB 250, which will help promote more low-cost lodging options along California's coast.[21] Gonzalez sponsored AB 2104, which allows residents to implement drought-tolerant landscaping without drawing penalties from homeowners associations.[22][23]

Justice system[edit]

In 2018, Gonzalez sponsored AB 1584, which banned the unusual and possibly unconstitutional San Diego Police Department policy of regularly taking DNA samples from minors without first getting parental permission, a warrant or a conviction, and uploading that information to their database for later reference.[24] The bill passed with unanimous support in January 2018.[25] Gonzalez has also created legislation that allows a person to challenge a criminal plea if that person has already served the punishment and was not properly advised of the plea's impact on his or her immigration status.[26]


Gonzalez's AB 805 legislation brought a series of reforms to San Diego County's regional transportation agency, and the San Diego Association of Governments.[27]

Voter protections[edit]

Gonzalez authored bills streamlining the state's voter-registration process,[28] has enabled voters to designate any person of their choosing to return a completed mail ballot to the proper drop-off location or post office.[29] Other bills introduced by Gonzalez and signed into law in 2014 include AB 1873, which allows San Diego County to fill special election vacancies for Congress and the state Legislature by mail ballot until 2020.[30][31]

Worker protections[edit]

Gonzalez advocated to raise the state's minimum wage to $15/hour, which passed and will raise the wage by $1/year until it is completely implemented across the state in 2022.[32] She introduced AB 5, which passed in September 2019 and would require many workers including Uber and Lyft drivers to be reclassified as employees instead of independent contractors, giving them minimum wage protections and benefits such as sick leave.[4][33][34][5]

Among some of the signature pieces of legislation authored by Gonzalez are bills enabling millions of Californians to earn paid sick leave[35] and making hundreds of thousands of California farmworkers eligible for overtime pay.[36] Gonzalez has also authored legislation designed to close the gender pay gap[37] as well as AB 2053, which adds instructions on abusive conduct (bullying) to workplace sexual harassment training.[38][39]

In January 2014, Gonzalez introduced AB 1522, which requires employers grant sick days to part-time employees.[40] The legislation was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2014, granting paid sick leave to about 6.5 million Californians.[41] In 2015, Gonzalez introduced a measure that would require double pay when a company makes workers come in on the Christmas or Thanksgiving holidays.[42] In 2016, Gonzalez successfully passed a bill to protect janitorial workers from sexual harassment.[43] She also authored a variety of bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Among these were bills to ensure that anyone injured in California receives fair and just civil compensation regardless of their immigration status.[44] She also created legislation that helped ensure nail-salon owners and employees are better-educated about workers’ rights.[45]

In 2017, Gonzalez authored AB 480, which was signed into law and enables certain parents who participate in the state's welfare-to-work program to become eligible for subsidies to afford diapers for their children.[46]

Also in 2017, she authored – and the governor signed—AB 1221, which requires that bartenders receive training to recognize when a customer has had too much to drink.[47] She authored this bill after two University of California at San Diego medical-school students were killed by a drunk driver.[48]

In May 2020, Gonzalez criticized Elon Musk for opening Tesla, Inc. during the COVID-19 pandemic in California and for threatening to move Tesla out of California, going as far as to Fbomb him in a tweet.[49]


  1. ^ https://www.martindale.com/sacramento/california/lorena-sofia-gonzalez-2309694-a/
  2. ^ http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Licensee/Detail/205410
  3. ^ http://www.joincalifornia.com/candidate/14001
  4. ^ a b Conger, Kate; Scheiber, Noam (2019-09-11). "California Passes Landmark Bill to Remake Gig Economy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-09-11.
  5. ^ a b Canon, Gabrielle. "California's controversial labor bill has passed. Experts forecast more worker rights, higher prices for services". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2019-09-11.
  6. ^ https://reason.com/2019/12/23/california-freelancers-sue-to-stop-ab5-law-thats-destroying-their-jobs-pol-says-those-were-never-good-jobs-anyway/
  7. ^ Libby, Sara. "How One California Democrat Is Reshaping the Democratic Party". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  8. ^ "#35: Lorena Gonzalez – The POLITICO 50". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  9. ^ Myers, John (January 2, 2017). "Gonzalez rings in new year with surprise marriage to Fletcher". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Lorena Gonzalez - Official Biography". asmdc.org. California State Assembly Democratic Caucus. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  11. ^ "Election History - Council District 2" (PDF). City of San Diego. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  12. ^ "COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO SPECIAL CONSOLIDATED ELECTION Tuesday, May 21, 2013 Official Results" (PDF). sdvote.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 August 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Committee Assignments". asmdc.org. California State Assembly Democratic Caucus. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  14. ^ "Speaker John A. Pérez Creates Select Committee on Women in the Workplace, Names Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez as Chair". asmdc.org. California State Assembly Democratic Caucus. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  15. ^ Service, City News. "Governor Signs Bill Requiring Lead Tests In Public Schools". KPBS Public Media. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  16. ^ "Bill Text - AB-746 Public health: potable water systems: lead testing: schoolsites". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  17. ^ Haelle, Tara. "California Vaccination Bill SB 277 Signed By Governor, Becomes Law". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  18. ^ "AB 2051, Gonzalez. Medi-Cal: providers: affiliate primary care clinics". leginfo.ca.gov. leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  19. ^ Gorn, David. "New Law To Shorten Medi-Cal Application Process for Community Clinic Startups". californiahealthline.org. californiahealthline.org. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  20. ^ "AB 2347, Gonzalez. Insurance policies". leginfo.ca.gov. leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  21. ^ "Bill Text - AB-250 State Coastal Conservancy: Lower Cost Coastal Accommodations Program". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  22. ^ "AB 2104, Gonzalez. Common interest developments". leginfo.ca.gov. leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  23. ^ Nichols, Chris. "'Brown is beautiful' landscaping bill signed by governor". utsandiego.com. utsandiego.com. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  24. ^ "Bill Aims to Stop SDPD from Collecting DNA from Minors Without Convictions".
  25. ^ "AB-1584 Criminal law: DNA collection: minors.(2017-2018))".
  26. ^ "Bill Text - AB-813 Criminal procedure: postconviction relief". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  27. ^ "Bill Text - AB-805 County of San Diego: transportation agencies". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  28. ^ McGreevy, Patrick. "Jerry Brown OKs automatic voter registration through DMV – LA Times". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  29. ^ "Bill Text - AB-1921 Elections: vote by mail ballots". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  30. ^ "AB 1873, Gonzalez. Special mail ballot elections: San Diego County". leginfo.ca.gov. leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  31. ^ Nichols, Chris. "Brown signs mail-ballot election bill". utsandiego.com. utsandiego.com/. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  32. ^ "California minimum wage: Historic increase to $15 an hour passes Legislature". The Mercury News. 2016-03-31. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  33. ^ "A bill giving workplace protection to a million Californians moves one step closer to law". Los Angeles Times. 2019-08-30. Retrieved 2019-09-10.
  34. ^ Conger, Kate; Scheiber, Noam (2019-09-09). "California Labor Bill, Near Passage, Is Blow to Uber and Lyft". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-09-10.
  35. ^ Nichols, Chris. "Governor signs paid sick leave bill". sandiegouniontribune.com. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  36. ^ "In historic move, Gov. Jerry Brown expands overtime pay for California farmworkers". Los Angeles Times. 2016-09-12. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  37. ^ Radio, Southern California Public (2017-09-11). "Your co-workers' salary data could be made public". Southern California Public Radio. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  38. ^ "AB 2053, Gonzalez. Employment discrimination or harassment: education and training: abusive conduct". leginfo.ca.gov. leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  39. ^ Joseph, Brian. "Here Are All the New State Laws Written by San Diego Legislators". voiceofsandiego.org. Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  40. ^ "AB-1522 Employment: paid sick days". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  41. ^ "Jerry Brown signs bill requiring employers to give paid sick leave". sacbee.com/. Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  42. ^ Tribune, San Diego Union. "California bill would double holiday pay".
  43. ^ "Bill Text - AB-1978 Employment: property service workers". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  44. ^ "Bill Text - AB-2159 Evidence: immigration status". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  45. ^ "Bill Text - AB-2025 Barbering and cosmetology: labor law education requirements". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  46. ^ "Brown Signs Bills Providing Free Tampons, Expanding Family Leave". KQED News. 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  47. ^ "Bill Text - AB-1221 Alcoholic beverage control: Responsible Beverage Service Training Program Act of 2017". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  48. ^ "Tragic Deaths of UCSD Students Prompted Bill: Assemblywoman". NBC 7 San Diego. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  49. ^ Sevilla, Mario (May 10, 2020). "Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez says 'F--k Elon Musk' after CEO threatens to move Tesla out of California". Retrieved May 12, 2020.

External links[edit]