Commerce councilman to challenge Cristina Garcia in Assembly race
NORWALK – Ivan Altamirano has announced his intent to run for the 58th Assembly District.
The son of immigrant parents, 44-year-old Altamirano currently serves as Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Commerce.
Altamirano was appointed to City Council in 2012 to fill a vacant seat. He previously served as a Planning Commissioner.
“I didn’t have any political ties,” said Altamirano. “I filled out the application during one of the council meetings. They interviewed 23 of us and they chose me.”
He says he “hit the ground running.”
“Within three months I created something huge in our city…it’s called the Citadel Express Shuttle,” said Altamirano. “It’s a natural gas bus, and what it does is it travels from the Commerce Casino, to the Citadel, and then it goes to Union Station, L.A. Live, Staples Center, Bonaventure, major hotels and back every day. It became so successful that now we have two busses; one in Downtown and one in LA, and ridership is free.”
He was reelected for the first time in 2013, and once more last year.
Before taking that responsibility, however, Altamirano had a bit of a rough past.
“City of Commerce in the late 80’s and early 90’s, it became gang infested,” said Altamirano. “What happened was all of my friends started to join gangs…so I had no choice, they forced me into the gang and I got into a lot of trouble as a teen.”
Altamirano says that by the time he was 16, he was on probation. By 17, his first baby had been born. He dropped out of high school and ended up in juvenile hall.
“I had to really make a decision,” said Altamirano. “I started to look at the future and I started to see what has been happening with my friends…I said ‘I cannot do this.’”
From there, Altamirano went to Los Angeles Trade Tech, earning a GD and AS degree. He eventually started his own air conditioning and heating business and has since started buying investment homes in the City of Commerce.
“I know what it is to fail forward,” says Altamirano.
He is currently married with three children.
Now looking towards State Assembly, Altamirano says that his initial plan was to run several years down the line out of respect, however current circumstances surrounding the District have expedited his decision.
“Our goal was to run in four years,” said Altamirano. “It was the lack of representation and lack of leadership in our district. We felt compelled to run, to go out there and bring what the Southeast needs.”
He is running as a Democrat.
The 58th District consists of nine cities, including Artesia, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Montebello, Norwalk, and Pico Rivera.
Altamirano says he “understands these cities.”
“I grew up in this area all my life, in the City of Commerce born and raised,” said Altamirano. “I come from a city that works. We come from a city that we have one of the largest railroads…we have big issues here in the City of Commerce that also is through the Southeast, with traffic and local investment. We need people that are going to represent with leadership.”
Altamirano says “he cares.”
“The way I see my constituents is the way I see my kids, my family,” said Altamirano. “When I do something, it’s for everybody; it’s to make it work.”