They say your experiences early in life can shape your entire future. As early as I can remember, my teenage Filipina mom worked two jobs to make ends meet. My Mexican immigrant father labored to realize the American Dream which was always seemingly just a bit out of grasp. Life was a struggle, but those moments left an indelible mark. Through them, I learned to turn struggle into power, and I’ve learned the immense value of helping others in need.
I was fortunate to have a high school guidance counselor who saw in me a potential I did not recognize in myself. He motivated me to aim for the stars and apply to UC Berkeley. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare, I knew that I needed to go further. I pursued a Master’s degree in Public Policy at Harvard University and later took my first job at The White House, where I worked to improve the educational outcomes of underserved children. I returned to California to join then Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante’s staff where our work on statewide initiatives provided much needed support to some of the state’s most vulnerable.
Being a changemaker for children and the underserved in my community has remained my passion throughout my education and my career. After my time in the White House and the Lieutenant Governor’s office, I decided that my best path forward was to return to UC Berkeley, where I earned a law degree.
I now prosecute sexual assault and child abuse in my work at the Sacramento District Attorney’s office. Fighting for justice is deep in my core. The safety and health of our children is the cornerstone of a thriving community. This means ensuring kids have not only opportunity, but the tools to achieve their dreams, just like I did.
Bringing hope during challenging times moved me to run for City Council in 2016. I never “liked” politics, but I knew this was my way of doing my part to move my community forward. My team of grassroots supporters knocked on thousands of our neighbor’s doors. I took those conversations to heart and was humbled to be elected the first Filipina/Latina on the West Sacramento City Council.
As Councilmember, I have actively advocated on behalf of our children (serving as Chair of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance and President/Creator of the West Sac Kids Give Back Program), supported cradle to college programs through the Kids Home Run (high quality preschool, community college tuition and college savings accounts), and have run annual school supply drives to assist West Sacramento’s neediest students.
I am no stranger to rolling up my sleeves and doing the hard work. When our city recently faced unprecedented times, I worked in the trenches, shoulder to shoulder with my community to get food and necessities to our City’s vulnerable residents. I also proudly championed the an effort to help give our homeless neighbors the opportunity at a second chance by bringing the Downtown Streets Team program to the City. This program has changed lives, by helping crew members find permanent jobs and housing while they work to beautify our city streets.
As a working mother, I understand the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am a steadfast advocate of programs to support parents adjusting to distance learning and new childcare needs, as well as programs to support local small businesses - the backbone of our community - while keeping the health and safety of West Sacramentans a top priority.
My life experiences bring a unique lens to discussions regarding public safety. I’m proud that the West Sacramento Police Department was the first in the region to refocus their efforts to emphasize mental health response and crisis intervention. Every one of our neighbors should feel safe on our streets.
I’m incredibly grateful to call West Sacramento my home. This is where my husband and I have chosen to raise our four children and a place where I know they can learn, play, give back, and grow. I hope you’ll join our efforts to move forward together by supporting my candidacy and voting for Q on November 3rd.