Biography

Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) was elected with overwhelming support in November 2012 to represent the Southeast Los Angeles County cities of the 33rdSenate District. Raised in a blue collar immigrant family in East Los Angeles, Ricardo knows first- hand the challenges facing the cities and communities of Southeast Los Angeles County. He is fervently committed to improving the quality of life for working families in California.

While serving in the Assembly, as Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, Ricardo focused on strong ethical oversight over public funds and programs to ensure the effective and efficient management of taxpayer monies. Ricardo also served on the Assembly Appropriations Committee; the committees on Banking and Finance; Higher Education; and Water, Parks, and Wildlife. He also chaired the Select Committee on Financial Empowerment, which examines traditional strategies for wealth-building and promotes long-term financial stability and asset building, and was a member of the Assembly Select Committee on California Mexico Binational Affairs and the California Border Legislative Conference.   In his first term in office, Ricardo was elected Chair of the 23 member Latino Legislative Caucus with a supermajority vote.

A champion for educational equity, civil rights and immigrant rights, Ricardo has authored legislation chaptered into law by Governor Jerry Brown which improved the quality of life for California’s working families by improving quality and access to education, protecting a woman’s right to take pregnancy leave, ensuring greater government transparency and oversight, protecting taxpayer dollars and ensuring certain consumer protections.  Prior to being elected to serve in the Legislature, Ricardo worked on the landmark AB 540, which made college education more affordable for immigrant students.

Ricardo serves on the College Board’s Hispanic Advisory Committee for Latino College Completion as well as the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s Legislative Advisory Board where he and other educational policy experts and legislators help shape educational strategies aimed at improving access to, and retention in, higher education on a regional and national level.  

Ricardo's commitment to his community is reflected in his ongoing volunteer work with local, statewide and international service organizations, including the Downey Kiwanis Club, Kiwanis International; the Bellflower Noon Lions Club; Optimist International; and the Rotary Club in the city of South Gate.  Ricardo also serves on the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project Board, where he continues to protect and expand the quality and affordability of healthcare services for working families.

Ricardo earned his B.A. in Journalism and Spanish with a minor in Chicano Studies from San Diego State University.  He is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Leadership from the University of Southern California.