Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager is a professional, a wife, and a stepmother of three, whose life and values were shaped by her upbringing, the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and a diversity of experiences as an elected official and dedicated public servant.
A product of a biracial marriage, Sydney grew up in Chicago. Her first exposure to politics was working with her grandmother to help elect Harold Washington, the first African American mayor of Chicago, in 1983. She attended St. Ignatius College Prep, where her formative learning was infused with an understanding of liberation theology, social justice, and humanitarian work in the Appalachian Mountains.
Sydney came to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California as a political science major. While she was at USC, the 1992 Los Angeles riots broke out. That catalytic event motivated Sydney to work with Rebuild LA and the Los Angeles Festival, two nonprofit organizations that threaded arts and job creation to help restore the communities most affected by the riots.
Early in her career, Sydney worked at the Social and Public Arts Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice and then as an advocate for quality childcare and early education at the nonprofit Crystal Stairs in Los Angeles. Starting in 2010, as district director for California State Senator Holly J. Mitchell, she was responsible for strategic initiatives and constituent services, communications, and programming. Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas appointed Sydney in 2013 to the Los Angeles County Commission on Children and Families. And in 2015, Sydney was elected to the Los Angeles Community College Board, where she fought to make higher education and career training affordable and accessible for all, including students who were previously in the foster care system or incarcerated.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree from USC, Sydney earned a master’s degree in public policy and arts management from Carnegie Mellon. She became a sought-after teacher and speaker on education, economic development, criminal justice reform, and the arts.
Sydney first ran for State Assembly (54th District) in 2018 to fight for more equitable and innovative neighborhoods and to improve the lives of everyone in our community.
Many of the policies she has championed are now in effect, including anti-discrimination laws, and strategies to help keep young people out of prison, make our neighborhoods safer, protect the quality of our air and water, and expand high-wage job opportunities.
A diverse microcosm of the state, the 54th Assembly District is composed of vibrant neighborhoods full of cultural and economic diversity and a wide range of education and employment opportunities. Our changing district is now home to both digital and creative industries, but many neighborhoods still face poverty. Sydney is proud to have broadened job-training services and paired many job seekers looking for sustainable careers with established companies in our area.
Sydney lives in the Crenshaw Community, with her husband, local attorney Austin Dove, her stepkids, and her dog, Kush.