Animal Rights Activist in Race for California Assembly

The longtime lobbyist for animal rights aims to represent an Orange County district in the state assembly.

Judie Mancuso, a nonprofit head and outspoken advocate for animal welfare, is running a campaign to represent Assembly District 72 in the California state legislature.

A relative political novice, Mancuso serves as vice chair of the Environmental and Sustainability Committee for Laguna Beach. She is also the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Social Compassion in Legislation, which, according to its website, aims “to save and protect animals in the wild, on the farm, and in homes through public policy advocacy in California and beyond.”

Mancuso’s animal rights activism is well-known: she has worked via her nonprofit to pass nearly two dozen animal protection bills in California in recent decades, including one which banned the sale of cosmetic products that had been tested on animals. More recently, she has sponsored a “Dog and Cat Bill of Rights.”

Her interest in the issue is said to have begun in her youth, and she has been described by friends as having “the protective instincts of a mama bear mixed with the determination of a pit bull.”

In addition, Mancuso has cited protecting women’s rights and fighting climate change as two of her top priorities. On her website, she also promises to prioritize public health and improve public safety.

Assembly District 72 is composed of a long strip of coastline in western Orange County. It includes land from the cities of Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, and Lake Forest. The district is currently represented by Janet Nguyen, who plans to run for a state senate seat in the 2022 election.

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