Pérez was elected in 2008 to represent the 46th Assembly District, comprising the cities of Maywood, Vernon, Huntington Park as well as the communities of Boyle Heights, Downtown Los Angeles, unincorporated East Los Angeles and parts of South Los Angeles. In January 2010, he was elected Speaker of the California Assembly and was sworn in as the 68th Speaker on March 1, 2010.
Growing up in the working class communities of El Sereno and Highland Park, John’s parents taught him the value of hard work and community service. After attending the University of California at Berkeley, he became active in the labor movement, where he spent over 15 years working to create jobs, expand healthcare and protect workers’ rights. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, John served as political director for the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 324, and previously served in a similar position for the California Labor Federation.
John’s commitment to the labor movement was matched by an equal commitment to civic involvement. He has served on the board of directors of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, where he led the effort to mandate a local hire agreement requiring 30% of all major construction jobs to be dedicated to local residents and those in need, providing those individuals with valuable experience and training in skilled professions.
John serves as an elected member of the Democratic National Committee. He has previously served as a board member for the California League of Conservation Voters and the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. He was appointed by former Speaker Bob Hertzberg to serve on a blue ribbon panel on Initiative Reform as well as the Voting Modernization Board.
As the first openly gay person of color to be elected to state office in California, John has been a longtime advocate on behalf of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community. He has been especially active in the fight against HIV/AIDS. He has been a leader with AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Latino Coalition against AIDS, and the California Center for Regional Leadership. In recognition of his work, he was appointed by both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush to serve on the Presidents Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
John’s lifetime of fighting for better wages, healthcare and benefits for working families reflects the values with which he was raised, giving him a deep understanding of the daily struggles that so many working families endure just to survive. As Speaker, he is using that experience to focus on solving California’s budget crisis, promote policies that create high-paying, quality jobs in California and implementing real reforms to state government.