Tony Mendoza (politician)
|Member of the California State Senate
from the 32nd district
December 1, 2014
|Preceded by||Ron Calderon (redistricted)|
|Member of the California State Assembly
from the 56th district
December 4, 2006 – November 30, 2012
|Preceded by||Rudy Bermudez|
|Succeeded by||district eliminated|
|Artesia City Councillor|
March 10, 1997 – November 13, 2006
April 22, 1971 |
Los Angeles, California
|Alma mater||California State University, Long Beach|
Antonio "Tony" Mendoza (born April 22, 1971) is an American politician currently serving in the California State Senate. A Democrat, he represents the 32nd Senate District, which encompasses Buena Park and the Gateway Cities of Los Angeles County.
He is a member of the California Latino Legislative Caucus. Prior to being elected to the State Senate in 2014, Mendoza served in the California State Assembly, representing the 56th Assembly District. Before his service in the Legislature, Mendoza was a fourth grade teacher in East Los Angeles, and served as a Mayor and City Councilmember in Artesia.
After receiving his bachelor's degree in Political Science: Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach and his Multiple Subject Bilingual Teaching Credential from California State University, Los Angeles, Mendoza taught elementary school for 10-years in East Los Angeles.
During his teaching years with the Los Angeles Unified School District, Mendoza served as a member of the board of directors with United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and as a representative with the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the National Education Association (NEA).
In 1997 Mendoza ran a grassroots campaign in his hometown of Artesia as a candidate for city council. His platform on securing Artesia neighborhoods from gangs resonated with the community and Mendoza became the youngest and first Latino member of the Artesia city council and the youngest to serve as mayor at the age of 26.
Mendoza served three successful terms on the Artesia city council before running for the State Assembly in 2006. Now in his third term, Mendoza represents the communities of Artesia, Buena Park, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, Whittier, Lakewood, Los Nietos, and South Whittier.
Mendoza has authored several bills that have been signed and adopted into law since arriving in the Assembly. Most notably are his bills that deal with health, public safety and the environment. AB 97 made California the first in the nation to ban the use of Trans Fats in food preparation in all California restaurants, cafeterias and bakeries. AB 1291 helps parents take a lead role in the life of their child; the child who has been charged and convicted of a first-time gang related offense can jointly enroll with his or her parent or parents in anti-gang courses to prevent further involvement in gang activities. AB 1488 requires smog checks for lightweight diesel vehicles to ensure they are running clean.
Mendoza's current legislation is a mix of education, consumer and employment bills. AB 63, just signed by the Governor, protects consumers by requiring retailers that issue a service contract or extended warranty to maintain a copy on file for the life of the contract and make it available to a consumer within 10 days of a request.
AB 943 would end the practice of using a person's credit report as a part of the hiring process with the exception of positions that deal with large sums of cash or expensive property.
AB 857 places highly trained individuals from the Employment Development Department (EDD) in local EDD centers to work face-to-face with individuals on their unemployment benefits. This bill also will hire an additional 800 people to serve in call centers. The bill uses no state money to fund the program, but instead allocates federal dollars to maintain the level of service to help those transitioning.
Mendoza launched a highly successful student program in 2008 that puts high school seniors from throughout the 56th Assembly District in real-life political scenarios. The program is the Young Legislators and its goal is to teach high school seniors about the political world. Seniors who qualify take part in an eight-month program that introduces them to local, regional and statewide office holders who share their perspective of various issues and explain their role in the political process. Young Legislators end their studies by participating in a mock legislative session in Sacramento where their deliver and deliberate on legislative bills they have designed and introduced.
The California Fair Political Practices Commission launched an investigation after a series of contributions were made my Tony Mendoza and Assembly Candidate Tony Bermudez. "Latino Caucus Chairman Assembly Member Tony Mendoza, acting on his own accord and without input from Members of the Latino Caucus, provided a recommendation to transfer $50,000 from Yes We Can, an Independent Expenditure Committee (IEC), to another IEC prior to his resignation as Chair of the Caucus. The funds have since been transferred numerous times and have been used to support candidates who are not endorsed by the Latino Caucus. As the current Chair of the Latino Caucus, I do not condone or support his actions", said Ricardo Lara, D-South Gate. Bob Stern, former president of the Center for Governmental Studies, the principal co-author of the California Political Reform Act and the Fair Political Practices Commission's first general counsel. He said the transactions look "very suspicious, but there could be explanations." "Money laundering is the most serious of campaign violations," Stern said, noting that money laundering is used to both skirt campaign contribution limits and conceal contributors."
Ethical disclosure violations as a public official
The Fair Political Practices Commission concluded that State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) violated state disclosure requirements when he “significantly underreported” the money he received in a bailout of his temporary home in Sacramento in the amount of $448,000. Mendoza reported gross income from the sale of the house of up to $140,000 on his annual disclosure of personal finances, when an investigation by the state concluded that he actually received $448,000 from the sale. The probe was launched in response to a citizen’s complaint that Mendoza may have received an improper gift. An investigation found that Mendoza did not violate the gift provisions of the state Political Reform Act. An investigation did show that Mr. Mendoza significantly underreported the dollar amount of those payments he received from the sale of the property in violation of the act. 
Assemblyman Mendoza grew up in South Central Los Angeles. He is the first in his family of nine children to graduate from college. He received a bachelor's degree in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach. He received his teaching credential from Cal State Los Angeles.
Mendoza and his wife Leticia live in Artesia and have three daughters and one son.