Warren Furutani is running for state Senate, a statement issued May 2 said. He is running for the 35th Senate District, which encompasses the cities and communities of San Pedro, Wilmington, Carson and West Carson, Torrance, the Harbor Gateway, Gardena, Moneta, Compton, Watts, Lennox, Lawndale, Inglewood and Hawthorne in Southern California.
According to the statement, Furutani has represented two-thirds of the senate district during his tenure on the Los Angeles Unified School Board, the Los Angeles Community College District board of trustees, the state Assembly and as a public works commissioner for the city of Los Angeles.
Furutani helped start the Manzanar Pilgrimage, was co-founder of the Manzanar Committee with Sue Embrey, worked for the Japanese American Citizens League and UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center. He also helped start the Center and Asian American Studies at California State Long Beach.
Furutani, the statement said, was the first Asian Pacific Islander American to be elected to the Los Angeles school board. He was the first Japanese American to be elected to the Los Angeles Community College District board of trustees. While serving on the school board, he organized a program to give high school diplomas to Nisei who were forced out of school when they were incarcerated in concentration camps during World War II, the statement said. While on the community college board, he helped lead the effort to give high school diplomas to Nisei throughout the state. While serving in the Assembly, he authored and helped pass a bill that conferred college diplomas to Nikkei whose college education were cut short by the camps. He also sponsored and helped pass a bill that designates a special day honoring an Asian American, the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.
Furutani is a senior fellow at UCLA’s Luskin School for Public Affairs and founded the Serve the People Institute, whose mission is to document and preserve the materials from the Asian American social justice movements of the 1960s to ‘80s.
Incumbent Isadore Hall announced that she is planning to run for Congress. The Los Angeles Times reported that Furutani will run against former Assemblyman Steve Bradford.