He Spent A Year Working For Bernie Sanders, Now He Wants To Work For Californians

When California’s 34th Congressional District seat was vacated by Xavier Becerra, who was tapped to become California’s next Attorney General, Arturo Carmona, who worked closely with Bernie Sanders during his presidential campaign, jumped at the chance to represent his community. (Full disclosure: Carmona formerly worked as mitú‘s Head of Community Engagement and Public Affairs).

Arturo Carmona is hoping that what he sparked during his time working for Bernie Sanders will give him an edge in the upcoming special election in California.

Courtesy of Arturo Carmona

“When I left the Bernie [Sanders] campaign, having served for nearly a year as the deputy political director and traveling the country with the senator, I realized that we had done something great in terms of waking up and informing and educating the country on so many of the real challenges that we’re facing in America,” Carmona told mitú. “When Congressman Xavier Becerra stepped down after being there for close to two decades, these types of opportunities don’t happen every day and I felt that it was a great opportunity that I could not let pass by.”

Carmona says he believes he can reach young Latinos and inspire them to turn out for another vote.

Courtesy of Arturo Carmona

When asked how he plans to get the highly-sought-after young Latino vote, Carmona said, “I think the way we did it with the Bernie agenda.”

Carmona explained: “We need to tell them that one elected official can’t do it alone. We’re going to need a change that is inclusive and involves hundreds of thousands of people in L.A. We’ve said it many times and I believe it whole-heartedly: real change never happens from the top down. Real changes happens from the bottom up, and that’s the type of leadership that I intend to advance.”

Carmona also thinks people want politicians who represent them ideologically and culturally.

Arturo Carmona for Congress / Facebook

“I believe that the country and our district are ready for Latino leadership that’s truly representative of the new generation of Latinos that are saying that we need to have a solid, multi-racial lens,” Carmona said about the importance of throwing his hat in the ring. “We need to have a clear economic justice lens. We need to understand the intersectionality of all of these issues, whether it’s issues around gender and LGBTQ, racial justice or criminal justice. We need to elevate all of these issues coherently and representatively of not only snake people and the younger generation, but of all communities.”

Carmona, who has picked up an endorsement from The People For Bernie, says he wants Latinos to become a priority for the Democratic Party.

Arturo Carmona for Congress / Facebook

“One of the things that we need to do is to make sure that the Democratic Party makes Latinos and makes immigrants and our diverse community, a priority,” Carmona told mitú. “So, I’m going to be fighting to make sure that we put our families first. We’ve seen a lot of promises in the past but very little footing in the actual stakes. We’re going to make sure that they actually stand up for our communities.”

“The fight is not just going to be on immigrant rights, but on many other fronts,” Carmona said.

Courtesy of Arturo Carmona

Not only will Carmona look to hold Republicans accountable for the “xenophobic changes that are coming our way,” he is also going to hold Democrats accountable for their actions, including President Obama’s deportation legacy.

Carmona also hopes to be a leader in transforming the Democratic Party.

Courtesy of Arturo Carmona

“I think what we’ve seen is a Democratic Party that has been addicted to special interest money,” Carmona told mitú. “We need to make sure that we bring the Democratic Party back to the interests of the people, and that means having people in power coming from these ranks and also the delegates.”

“We’re seeing that everyday people are rising up and saying, ‘enough is enough,’ and they’re taking charge of the Democratic Party,” Carmona continued. “We can’t just change it around the edges. We need to totally transform it and make it much more accountable to our community and our people so we can have the wherewithal to take this fight to Sacramento and to D.C, and then to incite the policy changes that are truly representative of the needs of our community. That’s a fight that we need to be having while we’re confronting Donald Trump, but that’s already happening.”

As for why people should vote for him: “I have proven myself over a career of more than 15 years that I have led with integrity and I have led with authenticity on a number of issues.”

Arturo Carmona for Congress / Facebook

“I have been there with our communities fighting the good fight, so I bring to the table a tremendous amount of experience. I also bring hands-on knowledge of working in this district for over ten years and this is a district that we won as being a part of the Bernie team,” Carmona said about his résumé. “We won this district by over 6 points, so I know that I can beat the political establishment.”

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