Happy Holidays to you and yours, and happy new year!

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What a year. It has been a remarkable time for change in LA County, starting with the 22nd annual Empowerment Congress Summit in January, to watching my son Sebastian sworn in as the Assemblymember for the 54th District. There have been some low moments too, with the ongoing struggle to support and defend our right to vote, and the loss of too many of our sons like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown in Ferguson.

But we must remember that with struggle does come eventual change. We have been pushing on accountability for the LA Sheriff's department for a long time, and at last, that day has come with the approval of a motion to create a civilian oversight commission.

We can take pride in past accomplishments like the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act, and new accomplishments like the electing of new inspirational leaders like Toni Atkins as Speaker of the House, Kevin De Leon as the new Senate Pro Tem, Alex Padilla as Secretary of State, Betty Yee as State Controller, Ted Lieu for Congress, Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis as new LA County Supervisors, Jeffrey Prang as County Assessor, Jim McDonnell as County Sheriff, and Rusty Hicks as Secretary-Treasurer of LA County's Federation of Labor.

We have passed major reform in the criminal justice system in California with Proposition 47 this year. We will push on next year and beyond to raise the minimum wage and address income inequality, so that all who do a fair day's work will have access to the incredible riches of our country and share in the opportunity of America. We will also address the ongoing inequities of law enforcement in this country so that citizens will know that the law is there to protect and serve us all, regardless of the color of our skin.

Happy Holidays from the Ridley-Thomas family and I wish peace and joy for you and yours now and for the year to come.


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