Gil Cedillo grew up in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles and attended Roosevelt High School. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 1977 and he earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Peoples College of Law in 1983. Prior to his public service, he worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Los Angeles County's largest union, where he served as general manager from 1990 to 1996. In May 2013, Cedillo was elected to the Los Angeles City Council, representing the First Council District. He was re-elected in 2017 with an overwhelming margin.
Prior to joining the Los Angeles City Council, Cedillo served for 15 years as a member of the State Assembly and Senate. He authored over a hundred bills that were signed into law by four different governors. Most were groundbreaking and innovative pieces of legislation that included cleaning up California’s brownfields, state oversight and fair-share zoning for transitional and emergency homeless shelters (SB 2), workers’ right to organize (AB 1889), Downtown Rebound (AB 2870), and the California Dream Act (AB 130 and 131). His long-running legislation to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants (AB 60) was finally signed into law by Governor Brown on October 3, 2013, nine months after Gil was termed out of state office. Gil’s advocacy on behalf of underserved communities is legendary. His causes have ranged from becoming a formidable counterweight to Proposition 187 and former Governor Pete Wilson’s inhumane crusade against undocumented families, to his unwavering support for Filipino American World War II veterans, the uninsured, low-income and working families, the homeless, and AB 540 “Dream” students.
As Chair of the Housing Committee, Councilmember Cedillo continued to advocate for equity while expanding tenant rights. He was the first to declare a “Housing Crisis” in Los Angeles, citing decades of neglecting to build the housing necessary to meet demand. He is a committed advocate for building 100,000 units of housing over the next ten years, promoting smart growth to help revitalize our neighborhoods and create jobs, while stabilizing neighborhoods with the creation and protection of affordable housing. Cedillo’s commitment to tenant protections is evident by updates he’s made to the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), making it one of the strongest ordinances in the nation in defense of tenant rights. To protect from increasing rents and displacement, Cedillo has clarified tenant buy-out agreements (Cash for Keys), implemented a Rent Registry to track rents and prevent illegal increases, made fourteen amendments to protect tenants and clarify the role of landlords, and made Ellis Act amendments to avoid abuse of the law and stop illegal evictions.
Councilmember Cedillo’s defense of immigrant rights earned him the top position on the newly created Committee on Immigrant Affairs, Civil Rights, and Equity. As Chair of this committee, Cedillo led the charge to create the LA Justice Fund providing resources to defend Angelenos in immigration proceedings, advocated for a just street-vending ordinance that moves away from criminalization, worked with LAPD to strengthen Special Order 40 to limit the City’s relationship with ICE enforcement, and helped create a Civil and Human Rights Ordinance to create a new commission to deliberate violations