Sebastian Ridley-Thomas

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Sebastian Ridley-Thomas
Sebastian Ridley-Thomas.jpg
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 54th district
In office
December 5, 2013 – December 31, 2017
Preceded byHolly Mitchell
Succeeded bySydney Kamlager
Personal details
Born (1987-08-12) August 12, 1987 (age 31)
Los Angeles, California
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
Alma materMorehouse College

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (born August 12, 1987) is an American politician who served in the California State Assembly. A Democrat, he represented the 54th Assembly District, which includes the Los Angeles County communities of Century City, Culver City, Westwood, Mar Vista, Palms, Baldwin Hills, Windsor Hills, Ladera Heights, View Park, Crenshaw, Leimert Park, Mid City, and West Los Angeles.

He was elected to office on December 3, 2013 to fill the 54th Assembly District seat vacated by Holly Mitchell upon her election to the California State Senate. He resigned from office December 31, 2017. Prior to his election to the Assembly in 2014, he was an aide for former State Senator Curren Price. He is the son of longtime Los Angeles politician Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Early life and education[edit]

Ridley-Thomas is the son of Avis Ridley-Thomas and Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Morehouse College.

Assembly Service[edit]

During his tenure in the Assembly, Ridley-Thomas chaired the Elections & Redistricting and Revenue & Taxation committees [1] , as well as the Select Committee on Mental Health [2]. He was also a member of the Assembly Appropriations, Rules, Joint Rules, Health, Water, Public Safety, Local Government, Public Safety, Public Employment & Retirement, and Labor & Employment committees [3].

Resignation and Post-Assembly Activities[edit]

On December 27, 2017, Ridley-Thomas announced that he would resign from the state Assembly on December 31. He cited unspecified health problems in his statement and said he would "an extended period of time to recuperate.[4]

In August 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported that Ridley-Thomas was "the subject of two sexual harassment complaints at the time he stepped down from the Legislature last year."[5] An Assembly investigation released on January 16, 2019 concluded that Ridley-Thomas likely made an unwanted sexual advance toward a female Capitol staffer two years ago.[6]

According to the LA Times reporting:

Ridley-Thomas was already raising money for reelection to a third full term. Late in November 2017, the Assembly Rules Committee informed him that an investigation into a complaint was underway, according to correspondence reviewed by The Times. Two sources familiar with the investigation said the complaint was about alleged unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature but did not disclose details of the allegation. A second sexual harassment complaint, by a different person, was filed around the same time ...

Ridley-Thomas resumed some political work just weeks after resigning. In February, he registered a new consulting business, Millennial Advisors. The firm has collected more than $80,000 from the African American Voter Registration, Education and Participation Project, a political action committee founded by his father. The fees cover consulting, office expenses and advertising. A related AAVREP committee specially formed to support Gavin Newsom's bid for governor —mostly backed by donations from labor unions — listed Sebastian Ridley-Thomas as treasurer and paid his Millennial Advisors firm more than $27,000.

He also joined the faculty of USC, which sits in his father's district and with which the supervisor has had a long and close relationship. USC appointed him "professor of practice of policy and social work" this spring ... In addition, the university gave him a scholarship to study for a master's degree in social work.

The unusual arrangement has come under scrutiny in recent weeks as the scandal-plagued university attempts to adopt more transparency in its affairs. Administrators launched an investigation and Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was fired [in July]. ... After the internal probe, USC approached the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles. The university told federal prosecutors it had concerns about a recent $100,000 donation from a campaign fund controlled by Mark Ridley-Thomas.

The gift to USC's Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work ended up in the account of a nonprofit group [known as the Policy, Research and Practice Initiative] outside the university run by Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, according to sources and public records.[7]

2014 California State Assembly[edit]

California's 54th State Assembly district election, 2014
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (incumbent) 34,444 78.2
Republican Glen Ratcliff 9,585 21.8
Total votes 44,029 100.0
General election
Democratic Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (incumbent) 66,082 79.1
Republican Glen Ratcliff 17,506 20.9
Total votes 83,588 100.0
Democratic hold

2016 California State Assembly[edit]

California's 54th State Assembly district election, 2016
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (incumbent) 83,889 83.2
Republican Glen Ratcliff 16,880 16.8
Total votes 100,769 100.0
General election
Democratic Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (incumbent) 146,723 81.6
Republican Glen Ratcliff 33,119 18.4
Total votes 179,842 100.0
Democratic hold

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "2015-16 Joint Handbook" (PDF). California State at Sacramento. 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  2. ^ "California Legislature 2013-14" (PDF). California State at Sacramento. 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  3. ^ "California Legislature 2013-14" (PDF). California State at Sacramento. 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  4. ^ Hamilton, Matt (August 1, 2018). "Donation from prominent L.A. politician roils USC, which referred case to federal prosecutors". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Ryan, Matt Hamilton, Harriet. "Donation from prominent L.A. politician roils USC, which referred case to federal prosecutors". latimes.com. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  6. ^ Gutierrez, Melanie Mason, Taryn Luna, Melody. "Ex-assemblyman likely made unwanted sexual advances on Capitol employee, investigation finds". latimes.com. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  7. ^ Mason, Melanie (August 15, 2018). "Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was facing sexual harassment investigation when he took USC professor job". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 24, 2018.