Lucille Roybal Allard, the 45-year-old daughter of longtime Rep. Edward R. Roybal, said she has "probably been referred to as the congressman's daughter more in recent times than when I was a kid."
Having won 5,443 votes, or 62% of the total, to capture the 56th Assembly District seat Tuesday on the heavily Latino Eastside, Allard said that high on her list of priorities is to show that she is "my own person."
At the same time, she said, when she takes office next week she should not be expected to depart dramatically from the Democratic policies of her father or her predecessor, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Gloria Molina.
In general, those policies have been to pursue issues of importance to the Latino community.
In that tradition, Allard said she will stress the importance of education, specifically by joining the fight against what she called the "limited" education budget proposed by Gov. George Deukmejian. The community college system "is often the first introduction into higher education for most minorities," she said. "We can't let it slip."
Allard is also assuming Molina's first priority: "No compromise. No prison anywhere in East L.A.," she said Wednesday in an interview. Allard said the words softly, not out of lack of conviction, she said, but because of hoarseness from campaigning and a bad cold.
She said she will not blindly follow the agendas of her predecessors and gave as an example the political divisions that developed over the prison issue. Molina clashed with Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, who once opposed an Eastside prison but later decided to support its proposed construction.
Despite that split, Allard said Wednesday, she and Brown "have a good working relationship. . . . I'm my own person. Whatever he and I develop has nothing to do with how he relates to other legislators."
As an example of their "good working relationship," Allard said she talked to Brown on Wednesday and that "he has offered" to let her carry an anti-Eastside prison bill originally authored by Molina and taken over by Assemblyman Steve Peace (D-Chula Vista).
It is another bill, however, that is making the most progress in the Legislature. That bill, a compromise measure, has passed the Assembly and is in the Senate Appropriations Committee. It calls for building a 1,200-cell prison near Boyle Heights and a 1,700-cell prison in the desert west of Lancaster, according to Lester Kleinberg of the Senate Office of Research.
'Not on the Sidelines'
Because she has been described by some who know her as pleasant but not dynamic--a "nice Pasadena-type matron who I can't imagine offending anyone," as one Latina activist put it--Allard said she is aware that some have suggested that she may feel out of place in the rough-and-tumble politics of the state Capitol.
That world is not entirely unknown to her, she noted. "If you were to ask any children of any politician, when you're been part of a political life, you are not on the sidelines. There is no such thing as a member of a political family who is only a spectator. You see the wheeling and the dealing. That doesn't intimidate me. I'll do a little of that myself, on behalf of my constituents."
Allard said her father has offered little advice, "except: 'Be cautious, never forget who you are or where you came from, and if you make commitments, keep them.' "