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Young Banker Bails on Goldman Sachs, Runs for Congress
Posted by Kenneth Kim on 02/21/2013 at 7:19 PM

Inspired by the singularity of the 2008 Presidential election, Emanuel Pleitez quit his lucrative job as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs – before the banking crisis – to forge a new path in public service.

The 26-year-old Democratic candidate is vying for the seat left vacant by Congresswoman Hilda Solis, who was tapped as labor secretary in the new administration. Pleitez is campaigning for an upcoming special election in California’s 32nd Congressional District against two veteran politicians with household names.

“The change is already happening throughout the country,” Pleitez said to a diverse group of about 100 supporters on Feb 8. “We’re ready to apply it here locally. We don’t want another politician. This is a new politics. It’s about public service.”

The Los Angeles County district includes a portion of East Los Angeles, El Monte, Monterey Park and West Covina. The congressional district has produced many leaders who have helped reshape the state’s political landscape: Julian Dixon, Diane Watson, and Solis.

Growing up in the El Sereno community of East L.A., Pleitez has seen politics turn off so many hardworking people, who believe elected officials are not people like them. The poor were convinced their votes and opinions would not count.

Pleitez said he wants to change this mindset and get citizens engaged and excited about democracy again.

Pleitez faces formidable opposition from challengers Judy Chu, chairwoman of the State Board of Equalization, and State Senator Gil Cedillo, a state legislator since 1998. The person elected to the district would serve 639,000 constituents for the remainder of Solis’ term in 2011.

The special election is scheduled for May 19. California voters will also decide on whether or not to adopt an open primary system for future elections.

Chu said she sees the special election as a chance of lifetime to be in Congress. She has represented the San Gabriel Valley areas for 23 years as an elected official for local and state governments. She has secured endorsements from labor groups and leaders.

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