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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 39

Photo of Luz Maria Rivas

Luz Maria Rivas

Science Educator/Commissioner
85,027 votes (77.7%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Improve economic opportunity for all by helping small businesses compete and creating career training programs for higher paying jobs
  • Address the affordable housing crisis for both renters and future home owners
  • Strengthen social services and mental health programs



Profession:Science Educator/Commissioner
Board of Public Works Commissioner, City of Los Angeles — Appointed position (2016–2017)
Founder and Executive Director, DIY Girls (2011–2016)


Harvard University Master of Education (Ed.M), Technology, Innovation and Education (2003)
MIT Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering (1995)

Community Activities

Champion Board Member, California Girls in STEM Collaborative (2015–current)


Luz was raised in the Northeast San Fernando Valley by a single mother who cleaned bathrooms at a hospital in Lakeview Terrace. The family rented a room in a house, and later lived in a converted garage and back houses in Pacoima, San Fernando and Arleta. Her mother took night classes to learn English and office skills, and ultimately got a new job.

As a fifth grader at Telfair Elementary in Pacoima, Luz became interested in technology and engineering when her teacher taught her class how to program an Apple IIe computer. That's when she knew that she loved technology. At Pacoima Middle School, she continued learning about computer science, and at San Fernando High School, she enrolled in a state program that helped students excel in math and science and go on to college in these fields. She was encouraged by her math teacher to apply to MIT and she was admitted with a full scholarship. Initially, Luz was nervous about leaving her family and friends in the San Fernando Valley, but after visiting the campus she fell in love with the school and four years later, Luz graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

After working as an Electrical Engineer at Motorola, Luz's passion to get kids interested in science and technology led her to earn a Masters of Education from Harvard University. After graduating, she returned to the Valley, and in 2011, Luz founded DIY Girls, a nonprofit based in the Valley that encourages girls to become interested in science and technology. Since 2012, the program has served over 2000 girls from grades 4-12, helping them develop skills as engineering and designers. DIY Girls also works with partner schools throughout the Northeast Valley to create new science and technology programs. Luz has helped set thousands of young women on the path towards economic empowerment, independence, and self-confidence.

Most recently, Luz served as a City of Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner where she continued her gender equity work. In that capacity she worked on events to help women-owned businesses compete for city contracts. She also led a recruitment initiative for women engineers in Public Works by reaching out to groups like the Society of Women Engineers to increase the number of women applicants.


Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $476,831

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

SEIU California
Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters
Professional Engineers in California Government
California Association of Realtors
California Faculty Association
California State Association of Electrical Workers
California State Council of Laborers
California State Pipe Trades Council
California Teachers Association
Consumer Attorneys
Laborers' Local 300 Union
Los Angeles Police Protective League
Peace Officers Research Association of California
Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians
SEIU Local 2015
SEIU United Healthcare Workers West
Southern California Pipe Trades District Council 16
State Building & Construction Trades Council of California

More information about contributions

By State:

California 95.23%
District of Columbia 2.51%
Arizona 0.52%
Illinois 0.31%
Ohio 0.31%
Tennessee 0.31%
Other 0.80%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.94%)
Small contributions (0.06%)

By Type:

From organizations (79.75%)
From individuals (20.25%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

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