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In the News: Antonio Villaraigosa
Mayor Villaraigosa made the news in Scholastic News Edition 5-6, September 5, 2005.

Antonio Villaraigosa
Newly elected Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joins hands with his wife, Corina (right), and their son Antonio Jr. at election night headquarters in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 17, 2005.
(Photo: Kevork Djansezian/AP Wide World)
After a resounding victory at the polls, Antonio Villaraigosa made history last May by becoming the first Latino Mayor of Los Angeles in more than 130 years. On election night, the Mexican-American politician delivered a message of unity.

"Let's declare our purpose here and now," said Villaraigosa, who was sworn into office on July 1. "Our purpose is to bring this great city together. Our purpose is to draw fully and equally on the rich diversity of all of our communities and neighborhoods."

Last May's race was a rematch of the 2001 mayoral election, which pitted Villaraigosa against political heavyweight James K. Hahn. Villaraigosa came up short in that contest, but four years later, he scored an impressive 19-point victory over his rival.

Villaraigosa got his first taste of politics in 1994 when he won a state Assembly seat. Four years later, he earned the prestigious job of Assembly speaker. After a brief stint working as a consultant, he returned to politics in 2003, winning a seat on the City Council.

The oldest of four children, Villaraigosa was raised in poverty by a single mother in City Terrace, an immigrant community of Los Angeles. From his humble beginnings, he has now risen to the top post of one of America's most prominent cities.

The last Latino to serve as the Mayor of Los Angeles was Cristobal Aguilar. He took office in 1872 when the city was no more than a frontier post of 6,000 residents. The City of Angels is now the second largest in the nation with 3.7 million residents.

"It doesn't matter whether you go to work in a fancy car or on a bus, or whether you worship in a cathedral, a synagogue, or a mosque," said a triumphant Villaraigosa, who is married and has four children. "We are all Angelenos, and we all have a difference to make."

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