Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez made the following statement regarding the passing of former Congressman Ed Roybal:
“Ed Roybal was, in every sense, a gifted public servant. He was a trailblazer and icon of the Latino community he paved the way to political power for today’s Latino elected officials,” Speaker Núñez said.
“Throughout his distinguished career in Congress, he fought to improve the lives of the elderly and the poor, particularly in the area of health care,” the Speaker continued. “He dedicated his career in Congress to helping people obtain the quality health care services they need to live healthy and full lives.”
Congressman Roybal was born on February 10, 1916 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At the age of six, his family moved to the Boyle Heights barrio of Los Angeles, where he attended public schools.
After graduating from college, Ed Roybal was a public health educator for the California Tuberculosis Association. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, returning to Los Angeles in 1945 and becoming a Director of Health Education for the Los Angeles County Tuberculosis and Health Association.
He was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1949, and served until 1962 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 1962. He was the first Hispanic from California to serve in Congress since the 1879 election of Romualdo Pacheco.
During his three decades of service in Congress, Roybal worked to protect the rights of minorities, the elderly, and the physically-challenged. In 1977, he was the driving force behind the formation of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The bipartisan caucus began that year with only five voting members. Today, there are 21 members of the Caucus.
In 1992, he chose not to run for reelection to Congress. That year his daughter, Lucille Roybal-Allard, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where she represents part of his old district.