Culver City Edition Lead Story West Edition

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas resigns from Assembly

LOS ANGELES — Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas announced Dec. 27 he is resigning, effective in four days, for health reasons.

“While it has been a great honor to serve as a member of the California State Assembly for the past four years, I have decided to resign from my post effective December 31, 2017. The reason for this difficult decision is that I am facing persistent health issues,” the 30-year-old Democrat said in a statement posted to his website. “On December 18th, I underwent surgery for the fifth time this year. Although I expect a full recovery, my physicians advise that I will need an extended period of time to recuperate.”

He said he notified Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of his plans Dec. 26 “with great reluctance, but even greater respect for the office, which involves constant travel, an unrelenting schedule and high stress.”

“Unfortunately, at this point, I am no longer able to deliver the effort that you deserve,” he wrote in his resignation letter, which does not provide details on his condition. “When I resume public life, I intend to remain active in civic affairs, where my passion lies. Following recuperation, I will return to the work of political empowerment, millennial civic engagement and inspiring the next generation of leaders.”

Ridley-Thomas, the son of county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, represents the 54th Assembly District, which includes Westwood, Culver City, Crenshaw and Baldwin Hills. He was elected to the seat in 2013 after working for the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, D.C., and serving as public policy director of the Senate Fellowship Program.

His father released a statement, saying their “family is dedicated to public service, and Avis and I are extremely proud of how our son, Sebastian, has represented California’s 54th  Assembly District and served as a role model for the greater African American community and his generation. Yet we, more than anyone, have seen him struggle with health challenges this year, and we fully support his decision to step down from the state Legislature so that he can recuperate with complete rest, in accordance with his doctor’s orders.”

Gov. Jerry Brown will schedule a special election to fill Ridley-Thomas’ seat once his resignation becomes effective.

“My colleagues and I wish Assembly member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas all the best going forward as he deals with his health challenges,” Rendon said on Twitter. “The Assembly will continue to assist the residents of the 54th Assembly District until a new Assembly member is seated.”

Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Mark Gonzalez wished Ridley-Thomas a “speedy and successful recovery moving forward.”

“While we will learn more in time, we hope that Sebastian, his family and his loved ones take the time that they need to fully heal and recuperate,” Gonzalez said. “We want to thank Assembly member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas for his years of service to his district and to the state of California while in the Assembly. We look forward to seeing his civic engagement in the years ahead.”