About David Vela

A native Angeleno and a proud product of the Montebello Unified School District, Vela previously was elected and served on the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education which encompasses part of State Assembly District 51, including as the governing body’s president.

Currently he works as Senior Vice President at the Lee Andrews Group, a minority and women owned Public Outreach firm in Downtown Los Angeles and as a Professor at East Los Angeles College. He is also the founder of HONOR PAC, a political action committee that focuses on electing LGBT candidates statewide.

Prior to his current role, Vela served as Senior Legislative Assistant to former State Assembly Member Jackie Goldberg, handling Labor, Transportation and Economic Development. Under Governor Gray Davis, he was Senior Advisor to the Employment Development Department. Vela also spent 10 years as a Senior Deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, where he oversaw two billion dollars in capital infrastructure improvements in Unincorporated East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights. These projects included the East Los Angeles Civic Center, the Eastside Gold Line and the Whittier Boulevard Streetscape project.

While on the Board of Education, Vela created a perfect attendance program which improved the District’s Average Daily Attendance to over 96%. He also implemented an aggressive anti-bullying program focusing on LGBT students, contributed to increased API and AYP scores as well as a 94% district graduation rate. Additionally, Vela fought to provide livable wages for school employees and passed a Project Labor Agreement, ensuring local hire ordinances and good wages and benefits for workers.

He was born to a single mother and raised in the district. Vela’s family settled in Lincoln Heights from Del Rio, Texas, where his grandmother rented a two bedroom apartment on Baldwin Street. His mother attended Lincoln Heights High School. David was born in Boyle Heights at White Memorial Hospital and was raised part-time by his grandmother in East Los Angeles Unincorporated while attending Montebello Unified Schools.

Vela also previously served as Vice President of the East LA Democratic Club and served many years as a Board Member of East Los Angeles Community Youth Center. He received his Bachelors of Science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy with concentrations in Economics and International Relations from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.