HomeCity NewsAfter Primary Win, Friedman Fortifies Race for Congress

After Primary Win, Friedman Fortifies Race for Congress

As Assemblywoman Laura Friedman readies to represent California’s 30th U.S. Congressional District, she intends to remain a steadfast pillar in Glendale’s community as she will continue to split her time between her hometown and the Capitol — only now it will be the nation’s Capitol.
After garnering 30.1% of the vote in the primary election, Friedman, a Democrat, will face Republican Alex Balekian, who received 17.4%, in the November runoff. With an overwhelmingly Democratic 30th District, it appears safe to assume Friedman will secure the House of Representatives seat currently held by U.S. Rep Adam Schiff. Schiff will compete with Republican former baseball star Steve Garvey for the U.S. Senate seat long held by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein in November.
Though nothing is final until the vote tally of the runoff, Friedman said she is optimistic and grateful for the support the community has shown her in the primary race and throughout her career, adding that she feels “a tremendous sense of responsibility.”
“I’m energized by the ability to serve and make a positive difference,” Friedman told the News-Press. “I am grateful for the opportunity to try to make a better Los Angeles and a better planet for my daughter and for the opportunity to continue to do the work that I’m entrusted to do.”
Citing her love for the city of Glendale as a top motivator for getting involved in politics, Friedman served on Glendale’s City Council for about eight years before joining the state Assembly in 2017, expanding her reach beyond the city limits.
“All of the issues that are facing Glendale are also facing the surrounding communities,” Friedman said, highlighting the cost of housing, access to health care, quality public education and water resources as examples.
When in Congress, Friedman plans to continue addressing these issues for Californians, as well as traffic congestion, safety for pedestrians and cyclists, and climate change and drought.
Another standout issue Friedman wants to push forward at the national level is PFAS contamination, known as “forever chemicals,” and toxic materials in consumer products. Friedman noted that while she has made significant strides on this front at the state level, that is not the case around the country.
An example of her work is Assembly Bill 496, which will prohibit the sale of personal care products that contain any one of 26 highly toxic chemicals in California. Authored by Friedman, this bill was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom and will be enforced beginning in 2027.
“This is something that should be standard,” Friedman said. “No one should be unsafe when they use shampoo or skin cream and yet we still have an EPA that’s not taking a strong enough position on keeping consumers safe and protecting our environment.”
While she is eager to roll up her sleeves and get to work, Friedman also knows the importance of settling into the new role and taking time to build relationships with her colleagues.
Friedman sees the partisan divide as the most significant hindrance to enacting change in Congress. Viewing many of the issues she cares about as nonpartisan, such as housing, Friedman wants to connect with leaders across the aisle to find common ground on solutions.
“We see the hyperpoliticization of a lot of things that shouldn’t be political every single day,” Friedman said. “I believe that all Americans should reject that and be frustrated with it. Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, you want your government to work, and having government not work because of partisan gamesmanship hurts everybody.”
Though Friedman prides herself in working alongside anyone who is willing to collaborate with her, she is also not afraid to “rock the boat” when necessary.
In 2019, the Assemblywoman spoke out against the California High-Speed Rail Authority project in which she pushed for more transparency and more fiscal responsibility from the group, despite pressure to stand down.
“You need to take your job seriously enough to be willing to take political risks, and in the end, I think it made me a better legislator and got me more respect from my peers and from stakeholders,” Friedman said. “[As someone holding an elected office], if you’re not willing to get people upset, you’re probably in the wrong job.”
In addition to her desire to get to know her future colleagues in Congress, Friedman is dedicated to staying connected to the communities in her district.
“I plan to try to be as active as I can be to truly represent this large district,” Friedman said.
While there is much overlap between the area Friedman represents in the Assembly and the configuration of the 30th District, there are new communities for Friedman to become better acquainted with, including Los Feliz, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Silver Lake and Echo Park. Immersing herself in these areas was a top priority on her campaign trail and continues to be, Friedman said, as she dedicates her personal time to meeting with nonprofits, community leaders and elected officials.
Through this process, Friedman said she was humbled to find that she was already fairly well known in these communities.
“I was surprised at how much people already knew my work … and how much built-in support I already had based on the work that I’ve done in the legislature,” Friedman said, noting some of her more high-profile legislative efforts in the realms of housing and transportation, and her voice in the #MeToo Movement in the state Capitol.
Shortly into her position in the Assembly, Friedman became the chairwoman of a subcommittee tasked with reviewing and providing feedback on workplace harassment policy in the state Legislature. She stressed the unique nature of holding those in government positions responsible for their actions.
“Our workplace issues are different from a normal company,” Friedman said. “You can’t fire an Assemblymember, so how do you hold people accountable?”
Prior to becoming a full-time politician, Friedman worked for many years as a Hollywood producer, where she had a front row seat to the infamous workplace toxicity in the film industry. She believes this experience informed her ability to be an advocate for fair, safe work environments and a resource for victims of harassment to confide in.
Additionally, in a broader sense, Friedman values mentorship and support throughout government work, pointing to Reps. Mike Levin, Jared Huffman and Judy Chu as admirable mentors she looks forward to continuing learning from and collaborating with. Friedman also shouted out Schiff as “an amazing partner.”
“I fully intend to take as much advantage of [Schiff being in the Senate] as I can to bring resources into Glendale, Burbank and the surrounding areas in Los Angeles,” Friedman said. “I’m sure he won’t forget his old district.”
Another confidant of Friedman’s is Burbank Mayor Nick Schultz, who will likely assume Friedman’s seat in the Assembly after leading the race in the primary. Friedman says the two are in constant communication, always bouncing ideas off each other and offering advice in the face of policy decisions.
If elected in the runoff, Schultz has said he is looking forward to continuing Friedman’s legacy in the Assembly.
“I knew that we needed somebody to step into the huge shoes that Laura Friedman … [will] leave in the Legislature, and I felt a duty to do that,” he told the News-Press.
As the dust continues to settle over the primary election, Friedman still finds herself taking in the weight of the results.
“You’re never really prepared for the feeling of being in the position that I’m in now as the front runner,” Friedman said. “I’m very relieved, but mostly I’m just super excited to start the work.”

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman and Burbank Mayor Nick Schultz celebrate the results of the primary election back in March. – Photo by Gavin J. Quinton / Glendale News-Press

First published in the April 6 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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