CSULA Alums; 32nd Congressional District | Spotlight

Two CSULA alumni making ‘House’ calls

Communication studies, political science majors providing a voice for their communities

Demonstrating leadership and vision, two CSULA alums are championing the needs of their communities and contributing to the legislative process in the U.S. House of Reprepresentatives.

Pictured: (l-r) Fred Ortega and Congresswoman Judy Chu.
L-r: Fred Ortega and Judy Chu, U.S. Congress, 32nd District.

Both Fred Ortega and Bryan Urias work for the 32nd Congressional District of California, which represents the communities of Azusa, Baldwin Park, City Terrace, Covina, Duarte, East Los Angeles, El Monte, El Sereno, Irwindale, Monterey Park, Rosemead, South El Monte and West Covina.

As district director, Ortega supervises a staff of six field representatives, case workers and other support staff representing the needs of constituents in the 32nd Congressional District. Handling health care, transportation and economic issues, Ortega also organizes in-district events and meetings as well as press conferences for Congresswoman Judy Chu.

As senior field deputy, Urias acts as Rep. Chu’s liaison to local cities, elected officials, nonprofits, and other local government agencies. Overseeing casework for constituents, Urias coordinates event planning, correspondence, and representation at community events.

Ortega and Urias are two recent examples of the many outstanding Cal State L.A. alums who are making an impact in local, state and national government. CSULA alumni in public service include Michael Antonovich ’63, L.A. County Board of Supervisors; Lee Baca ’71, L.A. County Sheriff; Tom LaBonge ’75, L.A. City Council; Steve Cooley ’71, Los Angeles County District Attorney; Kenneth Noonan ’67, California State Board of Education; Maxine Waters ’71, U.S. Congress, 35th District; and Diane Watson ’67, U.S. Congress, 33rd District.

Fred Ortega

Ortega, who graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in television, film and media studies at Cal State L.A. in 2007, previously served as public information officer during Rep. Chu’s tenure as chair and vice chair of the Board of Equalization. Prior to that, he spent nearly a decade in the journalism field, working as a political reporter for a variety of dailies and weeklies throughout the Southland.

While at Cal State L.A., he wrote for the University Times while balancing his classes and professional journalism career. He attended St. Francis High School in La Canada Flintridge.

“Cal State L.A. gave me the opportunity to solidify my career path and interests, as I had begun my career before earning my college degree,” Ortega said. “I owe a particular debt to Professors Jon Beaupre and Tony Cox for sharing their experience and passion for journalism...I also greatly enjoyed my documentary film class with Professor Alan Bloom. These three great educators helped cultivate and nurture my ability to use my communication skills toward the betterment of my community. It is those skills that have helped propel me to a career in public service...”

According to Ortega, “For those Cal State L.A. students interested in getting involved with congressional work, I suggest that you find an elected official with whom you see eye-to-eye with on the major issues, and volunteer to work on their campaign or intern in their congressional office. A degree in political science or communications is likely the best avenue to earn the academic experience necessary to thrive in a career in public service.”

Bryan Urias

Picture of Bryan Urias.

Urias, who received his bachelor’s degree in political science and minored in history at Cal State L.A. in 2006, has also been appointed planning commissioner for the City of Baldwin Park. Previously, he served as campaign coordinator for the Judy Chu for Congress Campaign and a field representative for former Congresswoman and now U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

While at Cal State L.A., Urias was a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Honor Society, and gained experience as a judicial intern through the CSULA Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Internship Program. He attended West Covina High School.

“My experience at Cal State L.A. was memorable because of the incredible quality and dedication of my professors,” Urias said. “Their educational knowledge and commitment to students made my educational career priceless and helped me achieve my goals. No one should think twice about choosing Cal State L.A. for their college education.”

According to Urias, “My advice for anyone interested in having a career in politics is to start an internship with a local elected official or on a political campaign. This experience truly gives you an inside look into the world of politics and it helps you to develop the relationships and networks that will open doors for your future professional development.”