Assembly District 54 representative Sebastian Ridley-Thomas abruptly announced on Wednesday that he was stepping down from office, due to health concerns.
In a statement, he said, "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 Dec. 31, 2017. The reason for this difficult decision is that I am facing persistent health issues. On Dec. 18, 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."
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Ridley-Thomas, 30, was chosen in a special election in 2013 to represent a solidly Democratic district, which includes the areas of Culver City, Crenshaw and Baldwin Hills. He is chairman of the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee, as well as the finance and health committees. He chairs the Select Committee on Homelessness and is a member of Select Committees on Biotechnology, the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and on Youth and California’s Future. He hosts the Crenshaw HealthFest annually to bring free health services into his district.
Ridley-Thomas is the son of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who issued a statement: "Our family is dedicated to public service, and Avis and I are extremely proud of how our son, Sebastian, has represented California's 54th State 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."
In his statement, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas also said he was terminating his re-election campaign, and added, "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.
"I am grateful to have worked with some incredible colleagues — men and women of strong conscience and determination to keep California moving forward," he added. "My hope is that, in this next chapter of public life, I can help ensure that African-Americans, millennials, and all Angelenos have a strong and vibrant voice in shaping the future of the Golden State."