Assembly Candidate Luis Reynoso Is The Reasonable Republican


May 31, 2012 | As an 8-year-old boy Luis Reynoso watched in 1968 with conflicting feelings of awe and fear as authorities in Guadalajara beat back and bludgeoned students protesting in the streets. “There’s something wrong here. One group has guns, the other group doesn’t,” he recalls thinking. As he observed the violence from a safe place, Reynoso remembered a sharp dressed man in a uniform barking orders at the troops and thinking how one day he could put himself in a position to clean up a mess like the one he was witnessing. “If this guy is telling people this, what if he told them something else?” he recalls today.

Fast forward over four decades and the something else Reynoso, the Hayward school district board member, is trying to tell voters in the 20th Assembly District, is a unique brand of conservatism that most have not heard about since the days Ronald Reagan was snacking on jelly beans in the White House. Reynoso’s history is a story rooted in classic “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” Republican ethos and backed with personal turmoil, triumph and a real life tale of the American Dream becoming a tangible reality.

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Reynoso lost his father just before his seventh birthday. The cancer was quick and unforgiving. “It just kind of took him by surprise,” Reynoso says. “So my mom, she just couldn’t handle it and she came to the United States.” His mother arrived in Fremont around 1966, although, not entirely whole. Instead of bringing Reynoso and his three siblings for the trek to California, his mother left them in an orphanage until she called for them over four years later when Reynoso was 11-years-old. “That’s why I learned to be a tough kid. You had to be in some of these orphanages or you’re not going to survive.” Although those four years were difficult for the young boy, he harbors little anger towards the experience, knowing his mother needed to establish a new life before providing for her children. “She had to do what she had to do to survive,” he says. “You do whatever it takes. She took care of us the best she knew how.”

His experience is a major reason why Reynoso says he could never along with the peculiar strain of conservatism, currently en vogue, that harshly demonizes immigrants. Instead, they should be celebrated, he says. “It’s tough because you come here and you don’t know the language,” says Reynoso. “That’s why I have a lot respect for these immigrants who take the extra measures to learn the language and become a legal immigrant.” He also noted that despite common talk radio talking points, the vast majority of immigrants come to this country legally. “We forget that we are all immigrants, no matter how you look at it.

When you start talking about issues of sexual orientation in school, there’s a difference between promoting the issue and actually informing about the issue. It’s a big mistake to bring that into the classroom.

When Reynoso got acquainted with his new life in America, he quickly got himself a paper route in San Leandro. Making $30-a-month with a beat up bicycle he bought at second hand store, he says the work made him proud. It also taught him to take his fate into his own hands. “I strongly believe in the dignity of work. The job you have may not be your dream job, but there’s dignity in working and we’re losing that as a society.” He points to the recent discussion over the past few months of bringing Walmart to Hayward. “Twelve dollars-an-hour is not good enough. We know that,” he says, “but there’s dignity in providing for your family. There’s dignity in not taking handouts.” Even as a young child he recounts how the school principal called his parents because he wouldn’t accept free lunch tickets. “It was so repugnant to me to take food as a gift because somehow people feel sorry for you. If I ask, it’s a different story.” However, he realizes life is unpredictable and some are more fortunate than others. “I do understand, at some point in our lives, we need help sometimes,” he says. “If you contribute to your unemployment and something happens, you need a little bit of help, but that doesn’t mean you get help for the rest of your life. You need to make something happen.”

Reynoso’s views on teaching sexual orientation in schools has drawn some detractors, but he believes he is misunderstood. Instead of demeaning the group, he says he respects their cause, but says already struggling teachers are overloaded in the classroom. “I certainly don’t believe it belongs in schools, but I will support you,” Reynoso says. “Whatever you do in your private life, I will support you because the government has no role in telling you who you need to marry or how your life needs to be in your home.” As a Catholic who recently received a doctorate from USF, Reynoso’s view is a tidy mixture of personal perseverance and theology. “If you really want to practice morality, then the way to do it is to let God judge. That would be true morality.”

“We bicker to much about social issues when we should be focusing on the economy. The role of social issues is when someone is being oppressed. School is about education. There isn’t a place for it. There’s absolutely no place for it, for sure.” When asked if gay history would be fair game to teach in schools, he said, “Absolutely.” “When you start talking about issues of sexual orientation in school, there’s a difference between promoting the issue and actually informing about the issue. Teachers have a tough time right now with the curriculum, they just don’t have time. It’s a big mistake to bring that into the classroom.”

Reynoso says he doesn’t know if he will run for re-election to the school board in Hayward, but he’s contemplating it because he says there is still more work to be done. “We’re having a real hard time managing our money,” he said of the current board. “There are people on my board who think we should be spending more money and not cut back on things.” The school district is still not out of the woods with its scary flirtation with state receivership. However, he has campaigned against the school district’s parcel tax, Measure G, which he says is unnecessary. “The district loses $2-4 million-a-year in waste,” he says. “Just by saving that we don’t need this parcel tax.”

When asked if voters ever wonder why he is running for the Assembly when he has not yet been able to mend the city’s schools, Reynoso said he often gets that question and says there’s only so much you can do in the minority. But, he also believes the board is beginning to make strides. “Before, whatever came through–BOOM–you’ve got the vote.” Now, he says, they better monitor the bidding process and challenge staff recommendations. Reynoso’s tough and sometimes antagonistic rants, however, have also rubbed some at the school district the wrong way. One infamous episode two years ago involved Reynoso being escorted out of City Hall chambers during one school board meeting after he forcefully laid into Jesus Armas over allegations the former Hayward city manager’s wife employment with the school district was derived from nepotism.

At one point, during the two hour interview at a coffee shop across from Chabot College, Reynoso launched a biting and often times hilarious rant against nearly all of his challengers for the 20th Assembly District.

On Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk: “Part of his history is ‘B’ Street. It’s a ghost town. He was a proponent for this power plant next to all these elementary schools and Chabot College. I don’t know what is going through his head…I’m surprised the environmentalist haven’t gone after him.”

He next added another opponent, Dr. Jennifer Ong, to the mix. “With Walmart, here’s an area where we desperately need jobs because you have people who are unemployed and what does Quirk do? He doesn’t do what’s best for the community and Jennifer Ong goes along with it, as well. It shows these people are completely out of touch with the community.”

“She wants to help the community? She would have helped them a lot more if we had Walmart to hire people in this community. What is Jennifer going to do when she’s in Sacramento? Give them all potted plants and oven mitts? What’s Mark Green going to do? Get a second job if it doesn’t work out?”

For a man raised without some of the creature comforts many of his constituents take for granted everyday, he has without a doubt, lived a life through a lens most Republicans choose to ignore. Whereas, the national party has sought to marginalize people, many Republicans could probably take a lesson from Reynoso, especially if they ever hope to attract the quickly growing Latino vote in America. And his fervor for forcing change really hasn’t changed much since that 8-year-old boy saw visceral change replete with bloody faces and crushed bones in the streets of Guadalajara. “Every time I see a demonstration, even the occupiers, it makes me so proud,” he says wistfully. “I almost feel like kissing the ground. Only in America can you do this. Only in America can you protest without getting shot. I may not agree with what you’re protesting, but it makes me proud.”

Categories: AD 20, Assembly, Bill Quirk, Chabot College, Hayward, hayward school board, Jennifer Ong, Luis Reynoso, Mark Green, profile, Republicans

17 replies

  1. Very interesting Steve- his past at least explains his nasty attitute- but does not excuse it.


  2. If only if Tavares was his speech writer, he would have a chance.


  3. “Candidate Luis Reynoso Is The Reasonable Republican”

    Now given the group-think in most of the Republican office holders and candidates, this is a nice alternative.

    However don't we all really know that the same type of group-think is deeply entrenched in the local Democratic party?

    Such that we ought to be wondering and looking for the following— Candidate xxxx xxxxxx Is The Reasonable Democrat.

    A authentic Democratic candidate who isn't just a collection of knee-jerk politically correct positions. If we are honest, that type of Democrat is probably just as rare as Reynoso is in the Republican party.

    But let one East Bay Democratic candidate have a view or position outside the mainstream and you'll have the gang/club comming out for his/her scalp.


  4. Luis Reynoso came walking through my neighborhood in Castro Valley and I almost wanted to laugh at his cheap yellow paper flyer he gave me. But, when I read it I realized how much more content this man has in his flyer that I had to call him back from down the street to talk to him. Reynoso's flyer has more meat on it than all of his competitors information combined of Bill Quirk, Green, Cheema, and even the encyclopedia of mish-mash mailers from Jennifer Ong. I spoke to Reynoso and I was very surprised how eloquent and down to earth he is for a Republican. People told me before of how smart this guy is and I am glad I got to to talk to him. This might be the real deal that I have been looking for in a politician. He is very knowledgeable on the economy and social issues. The only bad thing is that he is a Republican. I think will vote for Reynoso, and this is the first time I will ever vote for a Republican, Sorry Quirk.


  5. Good article Tavares is good to see more variety than our liberal menu choices. OK I admit I got to like Reynoso too as I have been following him on the school board meeting tv broadcasts for a few years. Reynoso just makes the school board meetings more interesting to watch. And to think I did not vote for him for the school board in 2008. Now I will vote for him, to agree with anonymous (11:43am). He really makes alot of sense on what he says. I am just surprised why he did not run for the city mayor or become the district superintendet. We need help at our city level, We need leadership like this assertive Reynoso that will take risks to do and say the right things and not be a wimp caving in on tough issues like our fellow Hayward city council.


  6. Luis is a great man and an excellent candidate.

    He is truly in touch with his community and I feel brings the kind of connection we need to properly represent us!

    If you want the “same old stuff” don't vote for him.

    If you want a man that will make a positive difference for everyone, vote for Luis Reynoso.

    From Union City, I am voting for Luis!


  7. Just wondering, reading all the comments, is there a East Bay Democrat who also votes his own mind, rather than marching in lock-step with all the party pressure groups?

    A Reynoso or Pete McCloskey or even a Tom Campbell type of individual thinker?

    Example, on policy, who between Guillen, Young, and Bonta has any independent policy issue that dares to question the party group-think?
    On schools, environment, immigration, couples rights?

    For example, would anyone dare suggest that once gay marriage is completely legal, that domestic partners would no longer be able to get health care, dental, etc from their public employer?

    After all, two people who are roommates don't get such a benefit.

    So some issue like that, which should be open for discussion. Or even a different opinion or plan for some of the more controversial issues.
    School choice, charter schools, or dare it even be mentioned, vouchers.

    Who in the Democratic party of the East Bay is most like those indviduals mentioned above with regard to being willing to vote other than the narrow party group mantra?


  8. Great article! The thought I had while reading is that I bet every single Republican in Sacramento secretly thinks exactly like Reynoso, but somehow the party pounds those beliefs into submission. All he is saying is very common sense and his libertarian views on gay marriage is pitch perfect. No matter your orientation, get the hell out of my private life.


  9. too bad more people don't have the opportunity to read this article and learn what a competent and compassionate warrior this man is. I have NEVER voted Republican in my 50 years of voting, but this time I am proud to say that I support Luis Reynoso…Too bad he can't hold 2 positions and remain on the HUSD school board too.


  10. I agree, I have never voted Republican, but this time I will. I am a Hayward Democrat and after looking at all the candidates, Luis Reynoso is the only one who respects my intelligence. Instead of giving out potholders and plants, I actually feel like I know more about where he stands on the issues.

    I also enjoy watching the school board meetings because he is there and always asks insightful questions.

    He spoke to my church group a few weeks ago and I was impressed with his presence and clarity of expression. I think Reynoso is the best choice for change and he is not afraid to do what is right, even when doing the right thing means going against the grain. He understands the community and is not afraid to stand his ground. This is a man of integrity and character.


  11. A Republican running for office in Alameda County? He deserves to be elected on that alone! Listen people, if you want things to get better, it's time to look away from the (D) and use your brains.


  12. Ditto 9:55pm comments. Even though I am a lifelong and proud Demo I will vote for Reynoso also. The slick mailers that have come from opponents are insulting, they obviously assume that we cannot read or we do not take issues seriously. Reynoso has a simple photocopied flyer that actually says something. On the school board, he has demanded accountability in terms of sweetheart and no bid contracts, board member financial conflicts, and nepotism. There are too many people on the school board (McGee is an exception) that do not care about ethics and doing what is right and it takes a lot of courage for him to challenge that way of thinking since he is in the minority.


  13. I am a Republican and my wife is a Democrat and both of us are pleased that for the first time as far as we can remember we finally have a very level headed, articulate, compassionate, and very educated assertive candidate running as a Republican. I wish we had more politicians like Luis Reynoso. I also like his tenacity on trying to do the right things no matter how much people try to ridicule him. I agree with the article that Republicans nation wide can learn plenty from Reynoso on his bravery and doing the right things for this community. In the future Reynoso should consider a higher office because we need more people like him at the federal level. Good luck to Luis Reynoso he has our vote in Fremont.


  14. Love Luis!

    For disclosure, I'm a Hayward Republican (and can have all the Republicans in my precinct for BBQ in my back yard all at once there are so few of us). And none of the Republicans I know remotely fits the caricature of Republicans this article draws. But none of that matters.

    What I love about Luis is he's passionate about our American freedom! Like Luis, I was born in another country, and I think that gives us an appreciation of America's virtues (at root: recognition of individual right and limited government to protect those rights) that those who've known nothing else often do not.

    All the other candidates talk about is who they'll get the government in Sacramento to screw and to whom they pay off with the largesse of the screwing. The only thing they consider up for debate is who will be screwed (the other four candidates all agree in some form it will be the successful — “the rich”) and then who will be bribed with the resulting loot. Luis is the only one in the AD-20 race who will stand for principle — our right to live in a society where we, too, can work hard and one day succeed without being drained by the bloodsuckers in Sacramento.

    I've heard said that Luis stirs the shit. I say this is a good thing! These days the shit needs stirring — more than stirring — it needs shoveling. With a BIG shovel. And Luis Reynoso is the guy to do it for us in the Assembly!


  15. Reynoso destroyed the schoold, he will destroy the District if elected. NO ONE from Hayward should be elected to anything if they are sitting on a board currently. Quirk nor Reynoso deserve to be anything elected, not even dog catcher. Those are the facts!


  16. We will support Reynoso as the only candidate with the guts and will to destroy corruption in school districts and the cities. We like his plan to improve schools and bring back jobs. Great talk he did in our charter school meeting. Good Report. This man is more than just an educated compassionate brave warrior. He was the soccer coach for my children. He volunteered(no pay) for the team after school when he was a teacher and even bought all the equipment!. He is one hell of an inspirational coach. The entire team and parents loved him. Go Reynoso Go. Gooooooooaaaaaaal.


  17. This area is ready for a change. We need a fire-breather Reynoso.

    No more party line patsies. I concur with above Go Reynoso Go.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: