About Edward R. Roybal
Ed Roybal became the first Mexican American since 1887 to win a seat on the Los Angeles City Council. Roybal would win reelection four times (1951, 1953, 1957 and 1961), even though his 9th District experienced boundary changes in 1956. During this redistricting, the southern boundary of the District was moved from 41st Street to Slauson Avenue, increasing the number of African Americans in the district from 15% in 1950 to 38% in 1960.
Councilman Roybal served his district from July 1, 1949 to Dec. 31, 1962, at which time he moved on to the U.S. Congress in 1963. He maintained his support largely through the support of his African-American constituency. By the time Roybal left office, 51% of the 9th District’s registered voters were African American, while 34% were Latino.
Roybal was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 1962. He was the first Chicano from California to serve in Congress since the 1879 election of Romualdo Pacheco. He would serve as Congressman until 1993. In his first term in Congress, Congressman Roybal served on the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee and the Post Office Committee. During his second term, he was assigned to the Foreign Affairs Committee; two years later, in addition to his previous committee assignments, he served on the Veterans' Affairs Committee.
In 1967, Ed Roybal authored the first bilingual education bill to provide local school districts assistance with special-bilingual teaching programs. In 1968 with the goal of improving educational, housing, and employment opportunities for Spanish-speaking U.S. citizens, he worked to establish a Cabinet Committee on Opportunities for Spanish-speaking people.
In 1971, Congressman Roybal took a seat on the Appropriations Committee, where he would continue to serve until his retirement many years later. In the 93rd Congress, Roybal introduced legislation to provide bilingual proceedings in courts. To support his legislation, he drew upon a report that disclosed widespread discrimination, police misconduct, and the denial of equal protection under the law in the administration of justice toward Mexican-Americans in the Southwest.
As a veteran of one war, Roybal work on behalf of Vietnam-era veterans. In the 95th Congress, Roybal played an important role in the passing of legislation to outlaw age discrimination, and he worked for numerous benefits and opportunities for those with handicaps.
In the 1980's, Roybal was named Chairman of the Treasury-Postal Service-General Government Subcommittee and served on the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee. He also served on the Select Committee on Aging, of which he became Chairman in the 98th Congress. From these positions, he worked on various legislative proposals; in 1980 he led the campaign for the restoration of funds to programs for the elderly, including a senior citizens' public housing program and a community-based alternative to nursing homes. That same year he voted to strengthen fair housing laws and to establish a Department of Education. In 1982 he was successful in maintaining the Meals on Wheels program and protecting veterans' preference jobs. The following year he voted to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
During the 97th Congress, Roybal chaired the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, where he led the opposition against the Simpson-Mazzoli immigration bill, which imposed sanctions on U.S. employers who hired illegal immigrants.
In the 100th Congress, Roybal worked for the expansion of rural mental health-care programs, and the establishment of a national mental health education program. In the 101st Congress, Roybal played a key role in helping to pass legislation that reversed a 1989 Supreme Court decision allowing age-based discrimination in employee benefits. In this same Congress, he continued his work on health-care issues; he was instrumental in renewing legislation to provide medical service to people with Alzheimer's disease. He stated that because of the growth of the elderly population of the nation, it was of extreme importance to fund research leading to the prevention and treatment of the disease.
During his three decades of service in the U.S. House of Representatives, Roybal worked to protect the rights of minorities, the elderly, and the physically-challenged. Throughout his career, he received numerous honors and awards, including two honorary doctor of law degrees from Pacific States University and from Claremont Graduate School. In 1973, Yale University honored him with a visiting Chubb Fellowship. In 1976, the County of Los Angeles opened the Edward R. Roybal Clinic in East Los Angeles.
It was ironic that Edward Roybal and Rosa Parks died at the same time. Rosa Parks was also a pioneer, an ordinary person with extraordinary qualities, who became the symbol of a movement. Eight years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on that Montgomery bus, Roybal made a decision to pursue a political office that most people were certain he would not get. They were right. Mr. Roybal lost the election, but came back two years later and won (against the same opponent). Through his efforts, Ed Roybal paved the way, slowly and gradually, for a whole generation of Chicano legislators in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. In many ways, he became a symbol and a patriarch for all those Chicanos who have served in the State since 1962.
About Mr. Jose J. Gonzalez, Spokesperson for the Latino Leadership Roundtable
He was born in Mexico, the oldest of six children. He came to the United States in 1952, and was raised in East Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Languages from California State University, Long Beach and returned to East Los Angeles upon graduation. He was Project Director for several community service programs. In 1973, he started his career in health care management and received a Masters Degree from Pepperdine University. Since 1973, He has worked in major health care facilities including Los Angeles and Orange Counties, the University of California Irvine Medical Center, and St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood.
He was recruited into medical group management and started the White Memorial Medical Group. Three years later, he started and became the President and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Medi-Co. For seven years, he was the President/CEO of a health care management company, Latino Health Care. LHC managed medical networks participating in managed care, specifically Medicaid (Medi-Cal), Commercial, Medi-Care and Healthy Families.
He has over 35 years of health care experience, including hospital administration, group and IPA development and management, statewide network development and in the management of medical clinics and IPA’s. He has served on the board of the California Association of Physician Organizations. He was appointed by Gov. Gray Davis to serve on the Department of Managed Health Care Advisory Committee. Most recently, he served as an editorial advisor to the O’Conner Health Report and on the Board of Insure the Uninsured Project. He was on the Board of Trustees of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. He is the spokesperson for the South Central-Willowbrook Coalition for Quality Health Care for issues related to the closing of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Center.