A former State Senator, State Assemblymember, teacher and community activist, Los Angeles City Councilmember Richard Alarcón was brought up by working class parents who taught him the value of hard work, the importance of standing up for what is right and the moral responsibility to help those who are less fortunate.
Never forgetting his roots, Alarcón fights hard for families in the San Fernando Valley and throughout the State of California. Education, financial reform, community, health, safety, poverty and workers’ rights and benefits - these are all the issues that Councilmember Alarcón has fought hard to protect and improve in his various leadership roles.
As a City Councilmember, Councilmember Alarcón has made job creation a top priority. As Chair of the Jobs and Business Development Committee, he has pushed the City to use Federal funding to retain and create local jobs - especially jobs in the green tech and clean tech arenas - and he has worked with communities groups and non-profits to open a truck driving training program in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. Spurred on by a personal tragedy, the death of his infant son over twenty years ago, Councilmember Alarcón has made child safety a priority as well. During his term, he has installed speed humps and other traffic calming devices around seven schools in his district, worked with DOT to add stoplights and smart cross walks and has been working with the County to use funds that he created as a State Senator, Richie's Fund (named after his late son), to open the first pediatric trauma care center in the San Fernando Valley. He also is spearheading the effort to create a Los Angeles Certified Green Business Program, which is targeted to launch in the summer of 2010 with partnership from the LA Community Colleges, Department of Water and Power and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Since the beginning of the economic downturn, Councilmember Alarcón has been a vocal opponent of the banking industry and called for action on the financial crisis. In the summer of 2007, he called on the City to help families going through foreclosure and he created a one million dollar pilot program with ONE-LA to help keep families in their home. He also has been the leader of the City's effort to hold banks accountable, by creating report cards for banks looking to do business in Los Angeles, to see how they are investing back in the local community.
Councilmember Alarcón's positive impact on the community spans decades. Previously, as a Los Angeles City Councilmember in the 1990s, Alarcón used $4 million in redevelopment money from the Northridge earthquake to attract over $100 million in new business investment, ending the long time blight left in the wake of a GM plant closure and creating a vibrant manufacturing and retail center that produced over 4,000 jobs. He was integral in closing Lopez Canyon Landfill, pushed the MTA to upgrade its fleet with clean burning buses and authored the Urban Rivers and Parks Act, which was used in the creation of the Hansen Dam Recreation Area. In 1997 he spearheaded the creation of the Northeast Valley Enterprise Zone, bringing businesses, and in turn good jobs, to the area.
As a State Senator, Alarcón was the Chairman of the powerful Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and was integral in overhauling workers’ compensation. He has been a leader in education reform, environmental justice and funding trauma care. In 2003 he started the Select Committee on the Status on Ending Poverty, which changed to the Joint Committee to Develop a Master Plan to End Poverty in California in 2005. During his time in the senate he also created the Cal Home Program which brought in $550 million to expand homeownership opportunities, brought $85 million dollars to community clinics through the Cedillo/Alarcón Primary Care Clinic Act and acquired $200 million for teacher recruitment, training and salary increases.
Alarcón’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. In 2003 he was one of eight state legislators in the United States called a "Local Hero" by The Nation magazine. The national magazine picked Senator Alarcón as a state legislator who sets an example of leadership that Democrats in Congress should emulate. In addition to this honor, in 2005 he received the “Truman Award for the Outstanding Elected Official” from the Democratic Party of San Fernando Valley and has a 100% voting record with Environment CA Scorecard and Planned Parenthood of California.
Along with his work as a public servant, Councilmember Alarcón founded and co-founded many non-profits, including his youth leadership training program, Richard Alarcón’s Young Senators, the Gift of Christmas, a toy give-away program that was inspired by the generosity of his father and the most recently the George and Anne Lopez - Richie Alarcón C.A.R.E. Foundation, which has contributed over $150,000 to charitable groups and for scholarships.