Lorena Gonzalez (California politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lorena Gonzalez
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 80th district
In office
May 28, 2013 – January 5, 2022
Preceded byBen Hueso
Succeeded byDavid Alvarez
Personal details
Lorena Sofia Gonzalez

(1971-09-16) September 16, 1971 (age 52)
Oceanside, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseNathan Fletcher (m. 2017)
EducationStanford University (BA)
Georgetown University (MA)
University of California, Los Angeles (JD)

Lorena Sofia Gonzalez Fletcher[1][2][3] (born September 16, 1971) is an American union leader and former politician. A Democrat, she served in the California State Assembly from 2013 to 2022, representing 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 increased by $1 each year until full implementation at $15 per hour in 2022.[4] She introduced Assembly Bill 5, which passed in September 2019 and required many workers to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors, providing them more protections under labor and minimum wage laws.[5][6]

In January 2022, Gonzalez resigned from the state assembly to assume a leadership position in the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Gonzalez attended public schools in San Diego County and graduated from Vista High School 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 an 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.[8]

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. Gonzalez ultimately lost the race to Faulconer by a margin of 724 votes out of 29,448 cast.[9]

California State Assembly[edit]

Lorena Gonzalez marching in the 2014 San Diego LGBT Pride Parade

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 71% of the vote.[10]

She served as Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, and became the first Latina to ever serve as the Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee in 2016. Gonzalez also served 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.[11] She was also the first Chair of the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace.[12]

On January 3, 2022, Gonzales announced that she would be resigning from the state Assembly to take a job at the California Labor Federation.[13]


Gonzalez created AB 746, which requires public schools to test their drinking water for lead.[14] This legislation was signed into law by Governor Brown in 2017.[15] Gonzalez sponsored a law requiring school children to get vaccinated unless they have a medical exemption.[16]

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.[17][18] Gonzalez sponsored AB 2347, which requires specific notices to be placed on the cover page of annuities and life insurance policies.[19]

AB 250, which will help promote more low-cost lodging options along California's coast.[20] Gonzalez sponsored AB 2104, which allows residents to implement drought-tolerant landscaping without drawing penalties from homeowners associations.[21][22]

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.[23] The bill passed with unanimous support in January 2018.[24] 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.[25]

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.[26]

Gonzalez authored bills streamlining the state's voter-registration process,[27] 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.[28] 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.[29][30]

California Governor Gavin Newsom with Gonzalez at the signing of AB5 in 2019.

Gonzalez advocated to raise the state's minimum wage to $15/hour, which passed and raised the wage by $1/year until it was fully implemented across the state in 2022.[31] She introduced AB 5, which passed in September 2019 and would require many workers to be reclassified as employees instead of independent contractors, giving them minimum wage protections and benefits such as sick leave.[5][32][33][6]

Among some of the signature pieces of legislation authored by Gonzalez are bills enabling millions of Californians to earn paid sick leave[34] and making hundreds of thousands of California farmworkers eligible for overtime pay.[35] Gonzalez has also authored legislation designed to close the gender pay gap[36] as well as AB 2053, which adds instructions on abusive conduct (bullying) to workplace sexual harassment training.[37][38]

In January 2014, Gonzalez introduced AB 1522, which requires employers grant sick days to part-time employees.[39] The legislation was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2014, granting paid sick leave to about 6.5 million Californians.[40] In 2015, Gonzalez introduced a measure that would require double pay when a company makes workers come in on the Christmas or Thanksgiving holidays.[41] In 2016, Gonzalez successfully passed a bill to protect janitorial workers from sexual harassment.[42] 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.[43] She also created legislation that helped ensure nail-salon owners and employees are better-educated about workers’ rights.[44]

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.[45]

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.[46] She authored this bill after two University of California at San Diego medical-school students were killed by a drunk driver.[47]

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 because of the state's factory re-opening restrictions. She also sent out a tweet that said 'F--k Elon Musk'.[48] Tesla subsequently announced on October 7, 2021, that it was moving its headquarters from California to Austin, Texas.[49]

Personal life[edit]

On January 1, 2017, Gonzalez married former assemblyman Nathan Fletcher; the two had been dating since 2015.[50] As of 2014, Gonzalez lived in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego with her husband and his children from his previous marriage[51]

On August 7, 2021, she announced that she had been diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer and would maintain her normal duties while seeking aggressive treatment.[52][53]

On January 15, 2022, a fire broke out on the front of the couple's home in the early morning. The family was awakened by smoke alarms and was able to leave the house through a side door. No one was injured, but the fire caused an estimated $36,000 in damage. The fire was described by police as "suspicious".[54] A San Diego police investigation concluded that the fire was deliberately set and offered a $1,000 reward for help in identifying the arsonist.[55]

Election results[edit]

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
Total votes 25,953 100
General election
Democratic Lorena Gonzalez (incumbent) 43,362 100
Total votes 43,362 100
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 75
Republican Lincoln Pickard 14,015 19
No party preference Louis J. Marinelli 4,753 6
Total votes 73,918 100
General election
Democratic Lorena Gonzalez (incumbent) 84,780 77
Republican Lincoln Pickard 25,703 23
Total votes 110,483 100

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 71
Republican Lincoln Pickard 16,107 29
Republican Joseph Viveiros (write-in) 3 0
Total votes 54,559 100
General election
Democratic Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (incumbent) 82,621 75
Republican Lincoln Pickard 27,563 25
Total votes 110,184 100
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 73
Republican John J. Vogel 13,999 18
Republican Lincoln Pickard 7,334 9
Total votes 78,205 100
General election
Democratic Lorena Gonzalez (incumbent) 121,611 71.5
Republican John J. Vogel 48,390 28.5
Total votes 170,051 100


  1. ^ "Lorena Sofia Gonzalez Lawyer Profile on Martindale.com". www.martindale.com.
  2. ^ "Lorena Sofia Gonzalez #205410 – Attorney Licensee Search". members.calbar.ca.gov.
  3. ^ "JoinCalifornia – Lorena Gonzalez". www.joincalifornia.com.
  4. ^ "Minimum Wage". California Department of Industrial Relations. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Conger, Kate; Scheiber, Noam (September 11, 2019). "California Passes Landmark Bill to Remake Gig Economy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Canon, Gabrielle. "California's controversial labor bill has passed. Experts forecast more worker rights, higher prices for services". USA Today. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  7. ^ "Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez to Resign, Assume Union Leadership Role".
  8. ^ "Lorena Gonzalez '93: From Cardinal cheerleader to California legislator". The Stanford Daily. December 9, 2020. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  9. ^ "Election History – Council District 2" (PDF). City of San Diego. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  10. ^ "County of San Diego Special Consolidated Election Tuesday, May 21, 2013 Official Results" (PDF). sdvote.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 9, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  11. ^ "Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Committee Assignments". asmdc.org. California State Assembly Democratic Caucus. Archived from the original on November 12, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  12. ^ "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 November 12, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  13. ^ "A Ballot Measure for Realistic and Clean Transportation Choices". July 2016.
  14. ^ Service, City News. "Governor Signs Bill Requiring Lead Tests In Public Schools". KPBS Public Media. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  15. ^ "Bill Text – AB-746 Public health: potable water systems: lead testing: schoolsites". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  16. ^ Gutierrez, Melody; Luna, Taryn; Myers, John (September 22, 2019) "The hidden battle over California’s new vaccine law", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  17. ^ "AB 2051, Gonzalez. Medi-Cal: providers: affiliate primary care clinics". leginfo.ca.gov. leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  18. ^ Gorn, David (September 19, 2014). "New Law To Shorten Medi-Cal Application Process for Community Clinic Startups". californiahealthline.org. californiahealthline.org. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  19. ^ "AB 2347, Gonzalez. Insurance policies". leginfo.ca.gov. leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  20. ^ "Bill Text – AB-250 State Coastal Conservancy: Lower Cost Coastal Accommodations Program". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  21. ^ "AB 2104, Gonzalez. Common interest developments". leginfo.ca.gov. leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  22. ^ Nichols, Chris. "'Brown is beautiful' landscaping bill signed by governor". utsandiego.com. utsandiego.com. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  23. ^ "Bill Aims to Stop SDPD from Collecting DNA from Minors without Consent". Voice of San Diego. January 9, 2018.
  24. ^ "Bill Votes". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.
  25. ^ "Bill Text – AB-813 Criminal procedure: postconviction relief". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  26. ^ "Bill Text – AB-805 County of San Diego: transportation agencies". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  27. ^ McGreevy, Patrick. "Jerry Brown OKs automatic voter registration through DMV – LA Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  28. ^ "Bill Text – AB-1921 Elections: vote by mail ballots". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  29. ^ "AB 1873, Gonzalez. Special mail ballot elections: San Diego County". leginfo.ca.gov. leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  30. ^ Nichols, Chris. "Brown signs mail-ballot election bill". utsandiego.com. utsandiego.com/. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  31. ^ "California minimum wage: Historic increase to $15 an hour passes Legislature". The Mercury News. March 31, 2016. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  32. ^ "A bill giving workplace protection to a million Californians moves one step closer to law". Los Angeles Times. August 30, 2019. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  33. ^ Conger, Kate; Scheiber, Noam (September 9, 2019). "California Labor Bill, Near Passage, Is Blow to Uber and Lyft". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  34. ^ Nichols, Chris. "Governor signs paid sick leave bill". sandiegouniontribune.com. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  35. ^ "In historic move, Gov. Jerry Brown expands overtime pay for California farmworkers". Los Angeles Times. September 12, 2016. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  36. ^ Radio, Southern California Public (September 11, 2017). "Your co-workers' salary data could be made public". Southern California Public Radio. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  37. ^ "AB 2053, Gonzalez. Employment discrimination or harassment: education and training: abusive conduct". leginfo.ca.gov. leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  38. ^ Joseph, Brian (October 6, 2014). "Here Are All the New State Laws Written by San Diego Legislators". voiceofsandiego.org. Voice of San Diego. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  39. ^ "AB-1522 Employment: paid sick days". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  40. ^ "Jerry Brown signs bill requiring employers to give paid sick leave". sacbee.com/. Sacramento Bee. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  41. ^ Tribune, San Diego Union. "California bill would double holiday pay".
  42. ^ "Bill Text AB-1978 Employment: property service workers". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  43. ^ "Bill Text – AB-2159 Evidence: immigration status". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  44. ^ "Bill Text – AB-2025 Barbering and cosmetology: labor law education requirements". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  45. ^ "Brown Signs Bills Providing Free Tampons, Expanding Family Leave". KQED News. October 13, 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  46. ^ "Bill Text – AB-1221 Alcoholic beverage control: Responsible Beverage Service Training Program Act of 2017". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  47. ^ "Tragic Deaths of UCSD Students Prompted Bill: Assemblywoman". NBC 7 San Diego. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  48. ^ 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.
  49. ^ Kolodny, Lora (October 7, 2021). "Tesla moves headquarters from California to Texas". CNBC. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  50. ^ Myers, John (January 2, 2017). "Gonzalez rings in new year with surprise marriage to Fletcher". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  51. ^ "Lorena Gonzalez – Official Biography". asmdc.org. California State Assembly Democratic Caucus. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  52. ^ Sklar, Debbie (August 7, 2021). "Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Says She Has Breast Cancer". Times of San Diego. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  53. ^ Davis, Kristina (August 7, 2021). "Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez announces breast cancer diagnosis". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  54. ^ "San Diego Police Call Fire at Fletcher and Gonzalez Home 'Suspicious'". NBC San Diego. January 12, 2022. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  55. ^ Romero, Dennis; Feather, Bill (January 28, 2022). "Fire that damaged home of California politicians was arson, authorities conclude". NBC News. Retrieved January 31, 2022.

External links[edit]