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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What does a young El Sereno native do after running for Congress?

Emanuel Pleitez , a 26-year-old El Sereno native, was never expected to win the race to replace Hilda Solis as representative for the 32nd Congressional District. In his first election, Pleitez came in behind fellow Democrats State Sen. Gill Cedillo and former assembly woman Judy Chu in the May 19 race. Chu emerged victorious but still faces a runoff in July that she is expected to win.

But Pleitz did attract more attention, support and money (in excess of $200,000) than expected from an energetic and young base of supporters. He also attracted the wrath of some members of the Cedillo camp who claimed that the young rival had siphoned voters away from the veteran politician and cost Latinos a Congressional seat. Now, Pleitz is job hunting and trying to figure out where his next move will take him. "If I would run again, I wouldn't know right now what that office would be."

Q & A with Emanuel Pleitez

How have you spent your time since the election?
The first couple of weeks after the election were spent cleaning everything up in our office and the houses where our full-time volunteers slept. The last two weeks, I've spent time with my mom in LA and my fiancee in DC going back and forth.

What are you doing now for a living?

I'm looking for a job or the next project to work on.

Have you decided that you want to run for public office again? If so, what would you be interested in?

I have not decided to run for public office again, but if I were a betting man, I'd bet that I will run again. Instead of the question being: what would you be interested in, the better question would be what would I be best prepared or qualified for? If I would run again, I wouldn't know right now what that office would be.
What was the biggest lesson you learned from the campaign?

Labor endorsement matters a lot in the 32nd District.

Did the Cedillo campaign ad featuring some of your Facebook photos make you think twice about participating in politics?

No it didn't. If one wants to run for a high stakes office, one has to be ready for any opposition effort.
Some folks in the Cedillo camp complained that you split the Latino vote. Have you made any effort to reconcile with Cedillo?

Yes, I've reached out to Senator Cedillo after the election. It's important to have support of any individual and group, such as established Latino elected officials, that will help you raise money and reach voters. We showed that the support to raise money and reach voters doesn't all come from the established elected officials. In this case, though, Judy Chu had the most support from established Latino elected officials that were connected to the district. I guess it does work.

You attracted a very loyal and enthusiastic group of supporters. How are you going to keep their interest after the election?
We will remain in communication and stay involved in the community. We will continue finding and empowering young, talented leaders ready for public office.

What part of El Sereno did you grow up in and where do you live now?

I grew up in different parts of El Sereno, most recently across the street from Sierra Park Elementary School on Warwick and Cronus.
Where do you like to spend your time in the neighborhood?

El Sereno Park was my hub where I grew up playing sports. I still like to go there and play basketball every once in a while.

Personally, what's next? Do you plan to travel, marry, go back to school?
I'm still trying to figure it out.

Photos from Emanuel Pleitez


  1. Though I found your claims of being on the "Obama Transition Team" to be a bit dishonest, I think you ought to give CD 14 (Huizar) a shot. We need some new leadership.

  2. You never mentioned when speaking that you were a former staffer of Mayor Villaraigosa. Why? Is it because you already knew he was tainted goods and guilty by association. I think you should speak to the youth about the dangers of Facebook and posting irresponsible photos and information about yourself. That seemed to hurt your campaigning. You would be a good role model for them on going after a dream and not giving up.

  3. Emanuel -Rather than running for office again, why don't you establish some real community credentials,like serving on a local board, or doing something that will really benefit the kids without the fanfare of running for office. This is better than rather than running around like you are some kind of chosen one.

    You don't have community cred., you should get some before you run again. But you won't because you feel that since you went to some private school, everyone should listen to you,the annointed one. Whatever, my family and I will never vote for you again.

  4. It's really too bad that you influenced to run again a strong candidate like Cedillo who had a real shot at gaining that seat, now we as Latinos lose another seat yet again because we don't have our act together. We need to be strategic from the gate. I think you have plenty of potential but like the previous person commented you need to establish some solid community credibility before going after a significant seat. I think you got played and our community lost a seat at the end.

  5. That's true. Just because you went to Stanford does not make you the Chosen One. We all like you a lot, just try to work within the community and make your name known. You never know if Chu might need to be replaced in the next 2 years. Right?

  6. If you don't mind me asking, how were they dishonest?

  7. Everyone has the right to run for political office. This perhaps may be a new concept to folks in LA politics. That doesn't make the them the "annointed one" or the "chosen one" -- it makes them a candidate.

    Cedillo supporters who think Pleitez split the Latino vote is just sour grapes. If you look at the votes, Cedillo would have lost anyway (which is an embarrassment to Gil). He lost because he is a hack, who will just find another political office when his term runs out. Then, Cedillo can buy all the designer scarfs and go on all the shopping sprees he likes. I'd love to get Gil Cedillo and Sara Palin in a room together -- I bet they'd talk about shoes! (after an intense policy discussion of course!)

    Also, Stanford is a great school. It's consistently ranked one of the top universities in the country. If the anonymous posters weren't so bitter, they'd be proud to see more Latinos go there. The Latino would be much better off if more of them attended elite private institutions. Take Sotomayor, for example. But I suppose she was the "appointed one."

  8. I am also curious as to why Pleitez's claim of being on Obama's treasury transition team was perceived as dishonest.

    As a member of the Facebook generation, I'd like to throw in my two cents on the topic: I think Facebook, as part of Web 2.0, has become ubiquitous. As we "come of age" into our 30s and 40s, everyone from our generation will have to deal with the problem of Facebook photos from college years. As time goes on and as Facebook photos are constantly used against us, I think people will become so desensitized that the photos will just come to not matter anymore.

    In any case, the photos that the Cedillo campaign dug up were not tagged on Facebook by Emanuel, nor were they posted by him. In order to find those photos, the Cedillo campaign had to put in a lot of effort searching for them online. In the end, they blew them out of proportion, failed to recognize a Hollywood celebrity who appeared in one of those photos, and hurt their own campaign by providing Pleitez supporters with a rallying point.

    Finally, I don't think the Pleitez campaign was using his Stanford education as a reason for establishing his credibility; rather, the fact that he had managed essentially to bring himself up by the bootstraps, pulling himself out of childhood in poverty all the way up to being a Stanford graduate, was a way of demonstrating his determination to work hard and to succeed against the odds.

  9. Emanuel,

    You lost because you didn't raise nearly enough money to be competitive. Unfortunately, this means you're going to have to accept contributions from special interests and forget the whole "grass roots" concept. It's sad but that's how the game is played and if you're serious about winning you're going to have to "lower" yourself to that level. Better luck next time.

  10. Hey Emanuel,

    Stop being so pretentious and arrogant. Ever since you lost, you've pranced around town like you're some politician already. You have no business even thinking about what to run for next--instead, focus on building your resume and spending time in the community while NOT just talking about yourself.

    Look, getting elected at a young age in LA is entirely possible...just look at Alex Padilla or even Eric Garcetti; However, they've got what you don't: intelligence and charisma...and you certainly ain't no Alex or Eric