"A leader inspired and driven by the power of education.
I grew up on the Eastside and Westside of Santa Barbara attending public schools, playing with neighborhood friends, and participating in the wonderful events and activities our community has to offer. As the granddaughter of a man who came to this country to work as a farm laborer through the Bracero Program, I learned the value of working hard to provide for the family while appreciating the opportunities that were given to us and noting that many do not have access to these opportunities. The values my family instilled in me helped me become the first in my family to attend college with help and encouragement from the support network I had behind me. My family, friends, teachers, and community organizations saw promise in me and supported me as I pursued my undergraduate and graduate education at UC Berkeley and Columbia University. Education was a game changer for me—as it is for so many families. After graduation, I came home to Santa Barbara, the very community that invested in me, knowing I wanted to do the same for students and families. My personal experiences and professional exposure in Santa Barbara is what got me involved in policy and public service. I understood our students needed the encouragement of dedicated teachers and the ability to attend great schools while also needing a roof over their head, nutritious food, a way to get to school, medical care, and future opportunities to be employed in our great state. The way to continue to help students and their families was by amplifying their voices and concerns, leading me to the run and serve on the School Board, and now, the State Assembly. I am a Legislator by chance. The title comes with the opportunity to continue to serve our community in a number of ways. My roots are in the 805—this community invested in my success, and this is the same community that I now have the honor to serve."