62nd Assembly candidacy is fueled by passion
Autumn Burke, the 40-year old daughter of the first Black California member of Congress Yvonne B. Burke and powerful business and political advocate Dr. Bill Burke had some convincing to do before she declared for the 62nd Assembly District.
“My father said oh, no you’ can’t…You can’t win,” she told the sentinel in an exclusive candid interview this week.
Autumn was among the last candidates to declare, but she did so after some careful soul searching and her conclusion was rooted in a by chance visit with an elderly senior.
“I had a client who was doing in-home care for seniors and during one of my visits to a center, I was compelled to do all that I could, and that’s what triggered it,” she said.
Few took her seriously, until during the first month of her campaign she raised $88,000, surpassing her rivals in the race.
With her emotional connection with seniors as the fire, the entrepreneur and small business owner, advocating for good jobs, safe and affordable housing and quality schools was off and running for the June 3 primary.
She plans on being active problem solver determined to will fight for the interests of the people she represents, while encouraging more businesses to locate and hire locally.
The district encompasses the southern part of the Westside (Westchester, Venice and Marina Del Rey), and northern South Bay (Del Aire, El Segundo, Gardena, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale and Lennox) region and also includes portions of South Los Angeles (West Athens and Westmont)
Autumn is among a new wave of political novices such as Compton Mayor Aja Brown, Hawthorne Mayor Chris Brown, Assembly member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, and Assembly member Reginald Jones-Sawyer to name a few who have transformed their private sector experience into a polished public servant.
She is encouraged by their election results and current success.
“I think that it is good everyone. It brings the concerns of constituents into brighter focus,” she stated.
If she wins, she will become the first female legislator in the history of the 62nd District, something that she is humbled by considering the lack of woman representatives in various branches of public office.
Her father is best known as the founder and former long?time president of the City of Los Angeles Marathon, and Chairman of the AQMD Governing Board.
Her mother was veteran Los Angeles County Supervisor and time Chair of the Board of Supervisors.
Autumn currently owns Mandeville Group, LLC, a professional consulting firm that offers business development, community outreach and energy efficiency consulting services.
Previously, she was an award winning real estate agent at Keller Williams and has held senior positions with LA Events and the Los Angeles Marathon.
Today, Autumn serves as a committee member on Count Me In for Women, an organization that promotes the growth of women-owned businesses. She is also a board member of the Yvonne Burke Education Foundation, founded by her mother.
The organization provides scholarships to increase higher education attainment among young people in Los Angeles County.
She has also been a longstanding supporter of the Compton Jr. Posse, a program that provides at-risk youth with alternatives to the lure of gang and drug lifestyles. For more than 20 years. The Compton Jr. Posse has given inner city kids hope by teaming them with horses and giving them roles at the ranch that encourage responsibility and a greater sense of belonging.
As a legislator Autumn believes that the primary focus should be on economic development, on increasing opportunities in her district and throughout the State of California. “We need to restore services to seniors in our community, we need the most advanced crime technology for our law enforcement bureaus and we need to increase per pupil funding in our schools. But, none of this can be accomplished if we don’t restore economic development opportunities to our community’s. We cant just be the place where business executives have their offices, we need the businesses to bring back the manufacturing and production jobs that employ so many, bringing jobs back to the people will pave the way for bringing back the other so desperately needed services in our community.”
Autumn hopes to expand on her commitments as a public servant, joining a legacy carved by her mother, but designed by her own passion of this new generational leadership.
“My mother and I are very similar in that we both have a passion to serve the people and the community we live in. But, we are also different. In today’s world many of the issues are different, but in the end it is our passion for service that drove her then and it is what drives me now”.
Danny Bakewell Jr., Executive Editor, contributed to this story.
All photos by Brian W. Carter