I come from a family of hard-working and determined people. My grandfather was a bracero farmworker from Oaxaca, Mexico who worked the fields of Watsonville and the Salinas Valley in the 1940’s. After recovering from pesticide poisoning, he went on to manage a farm and a gardening business that allowed him to bring my grandmother and mother to California. My mother got an education and became a bilingual school teacher. My father was a math teacher whose parents rose from poverty to become a nurse, and a scientist for the National Institutes of Health.
My family was always involved in community affairs and I became politically active in high school running phone banks and walking neighborhoods for local candidates. After graduating from UC Berkeley I went to Washington D.C. where I witnessed the Bush Administration and corporate lobbyists push through legislation to promote fracking. I realized that one of the best ways to help overcome corporate power was to organize and build community power in the field.
In 2006, I became Food & Water Watch’s first organizer in California and later the California Director. Over the last 13 years I helped communities across the state to win fracking bans and protect their water from being privatized by corporations. We helped pass bills that won overtime pay for farmworkers and advanced the human right to clean water.
Locally, I’ve helped support and lead major victories to protect our air, water and land. I’ve worked together with Central Coast organizations to overcome the impact of millions of dollars spent by corporations and helped them win the following measures:
- Monterey Peninsula’s Measure J won the right to initiate a public water buyout – 2018
- Monterey County’s Measure Z banned fracking and new oil wells – 2016
- San Benito County’s Measure J banned fracking and new oil wells – 2014
- Santa Cruz County Ordinance banned fracking and oil drilling – 2014
- Santa Cruz’s Measure P guaranteed a public vote on proposed desalination plants – 2012
In the fall of 2019 I launched a campaign for Congress with the goal of solving the worsening affordability and climate crises. I was honored to receive the support of over 25,000 voters after a quick 4.5 month grassroots campaign funded entirely by people and not corporations.
Over the last year I’ve listened to teachers, workers, students, parents, and community leaders talk about their desire to solve the major challenges facing our Pajaro Valley Unified School District. They have made clear their desire for a more responsive Board of Trustees that holds the administration accountable.
It is clear that new leadership is needed that will empower the strengths of our diverse community. I’m excited to help bring that type of leadership to the PVUSD Board of Trustees.