Connie Leyva’s wild year – Daily Bulletin

This wasn’t where Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, expected to be a year ago today.

As the California Citizens Redistricting Commission set to issue new legislative limitsLeyva expected to be reelected on November 8, seeking a third term in the state Senate.

“Last year, at this time, I thought I was going to do one more term in the Senate, that the redistricting was going to happen,” said the union leader turned lawmaker. “My neighborhood would change a bit, but I would keep the core towns that I had. And yeah, that didn’t happen.

  • Sen. Connie Leyva, right, D-Chino meets with a supporter at her Pomona campaign office during an open house Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. Leyva decided not to run for office after the redistricting commission of the state put her in a new district shared with another incumbent Democrat. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Senator Connie Leyva, right, D-Chino meets supporter Shirley Yamano...

    Senator Connie Leyva, right, D-Chino meets with supporter Shirley Yamano at her Pomona campaign office during an open house Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. Leyva decided not to run for office after the commission redistricting put her in a new district shared with another incumbent Democrat. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Senator Connie Leyva, D-Chino, pictured in her Pomona office on...

    Senator Connie Leyva, D-Chino, pictured in her office in Pomona on October 26, 2022. A year ago, Leyva thought she would be in the midst of a re-election campaign. But after a nasty surprise from the state redistricting commission, she finds herself completing an eight-year elective term as the new executive director of public radio and television station KVCR. (Photo by Beau Yarbrough, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Senator Connie Leyva, right, D-Chino gives a high five to...

    Senator Connie Leyva, right, D-Chino gives supporter Jaime Zamora a high five at her Pomona campaign office during an open house Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. Leyva decided not to run for office after that the state redistricting commission put her in a new district shared with another incumbent Democrat. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Rather than the minor adjustment Leyva expected, the commission cut off the eastern portion of her district, creating a new 22nd Senate District that she would share with Senator Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park.

“Above Kellogg’s Hill is not the Inland Empire,” Leyva said.

“I love public service,” she added. “I loved my job in the Senate, but for more than half of my staff, getting to Highway 605 and that area will require at least an hour’s drive a day. …And it really made me think about how much I’ve missed my family for the past eight years.

Running again would have meant two incumbent Democratic senators facing each other, so Leyva stepped aside. She announced her intention to run for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors instead, challenging board chairman Curt Hagman in the Fourth Arrondissement.

“I thought my chances were better than they were because there are about 40,000 more registered Democrats” in the district, said Leyva, who before serving in the state Senate had been President of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). ) Local 1428. “And (Hagman) has always been very quiet about his recording.”

Hagman had served as the Republican Party’s Minority Leader in the Assembly before joining the County Board of Supervisors.

“Every weekend we were out there knocking and talking,” she said of the campaign leading up to the June primaries. “I love knocking on doors. I have met so many amazing people. I don’t regret a beat. And then people just didn’t show up to vote.

Hagman defeated Leyva and insurance salesman Larry Wu in the June 7 primary. It was the end of Leyva’s political career, at least for now.

“This is the first month in eight years that I haven’t written a mortgage check or a rent check,” Leyva said in late October. “So that’s pretty cool. Maintaining two places to live isn’t easy. And it’s a lonely job, being (in Sacramento) four days a week. … I’m alone in my apartment, reading. I read a lot, so I was always very prepared, but it was lonely work.

Leyva did not stay long in the labor market. In early October, public television and Inland Empire radio KVCR has announced that it has hired Leyva as the station’s next executive director.. Leyva’s term in the Senate ends on December 5, the same day she starts working at KVCR.

“There are going to be three elements in my work,” Leyva said. “The first is to hire Valley College students to engage them and do internships with KVCR, which I love. I love students, I love education, so it’s gonna be fun. Second, fundraising to ensure KVCR is self-sufficient. And then third, working on content for the radio station, 91.9 FM, for the TV station, channel 24.”

Even though 2022 turned out much differently than expected, Leyva says she is optimistic about the future.

“I’m 55 and I feel like I have a third career,” she said. “I spent twenty years in the labor movement. I have to do eight years in the Senate. Now I can do this. What chance do I have?”

And there’s still a chance voters will see his name on a ballot again someday.

“I did not close my account to run for (state) Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2026,” she said. In March 2021, Leyva has announced plans to seek the position of top educator in the state in 2026. “I love education, I love, I love, I love.”

But in the meantime, Leyva is ready for a political break.

“I haven’t been able to pace myself well in this job,” she said. “And I’ll be honest, I’m tired. You know, not just back and forth. Someone joked and said, ‘We go to every envelope opening.’ And it’s true, but I feel committed: it’s my job as a public official. So it will be nice to be able to work hard, but be home every night. And I think I bring something to (KVCR). I think they will bring me something and it will be a great partnership.

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