The Fresno County Democratic Central Committee has not endorsed any candidate in this race.
I became a naturalized citizen at the age of 31 and have dedicated my entire life to improving the lives of immigrants, women and workers. Over my long career of activism in the labor movement and at Communications Workers of America Local 9400, I rose from a Shop Steward to Vice President and helped California pass some of the most progressive labor laws in the nation – what has now become a tradition in my family. My grandson Isaac recently fasted for 24 hours, lobbied and volunteered with farm workers traveling to the Capitol to help pass long fought for overtime pay. My commitment to workers and the labor movement stems from the belief that in order to effect change in government, politics and society we must first ensure that the basic needs of our community are met.
I also realize that those of us who can have an obligation to fight for that change and give others agency to do the same. That is why I first began registering new citizens to vote outside of the Los Angeles Convention Center monthly naturalization ceremonies. Since its inception in the early 90s, we have registered tens of thousands of new Democratic voters – immigrants who bring depth and diversity to our party. The voter registration efforts that I began all those years ago still register thousands of new immigrants each year. With the success of our voter registration drives in Los Angeles, I traveled the state training local Democratic clubs how to do the same. It is now a statewide program that continues to bring our immigrant community into the fold of the Democratic Party.
It is this creative thinking, grassroots activism and spirit of inclusion that I believe makes me a different kind of leader. My goal is and always has been to use the influence and strength of the Democratic Party to empower others to enact change. I believe the whole is only as strong as the parts. That is why we need to channel our efforts into the grassroots power that helped California become the Blue state it is today.
Yet it wasn’t always so Blue. People sometimes forget, there was a time in California where Ronald Reagan was Governor, Republican voter rolls were up, and two-thirds majorities in the legislature were a pipe dream. I am proud to have been on the front lines of turning this state into the Democratic beacon it is to the rest of the nation today. It took lots of hard work, but it was possible. That is why I am heartened by the organizing going on now under the Trump regime. We must capitalize on this energy and give it the tools it needs to be engaged in the party and effective. I have been traveling the state, meeting with local Democratic clubs – many of them in packed cafeterias or standing room only conference rooms – telling them how to get involved and shape the future of the party. I’ve been meeting with young people, many of them involved in the party for their very first time, to share resources and help them mobilize. With clear eyes, full hearts, we can’t lose.
But the work isn’t over yet. That is why I am running for re-election. There are too many of our communities under attack, too many disenfranchised, too many broken and hurting for me to turn back now. I owe it to them.
First Vice Chair
California Democratic Party