I am a proud member of the Southeast Community. My parents and only brother were born in a small town in Durango, Mexico. When I was nine years old, my family and I settled in Cudahy where I attended the area’s local schools: Elizabeth St. Elementary, Nimitz Jr. and Bell High School, where I was both Student Body President and Homecoming Queen.
I obtained my bachelor’s degree from Yale University in American Studies and then taught for the Universidad de Navarra’s Faculty of Economics/Business Administration in Pamplona. I, simultaneously, conducted research and pursued a master’s degree, which culminated in a Summa Cum Laude award for my thesis “Outsourcing in the Labor Sphere, which concluded that outsourcing was not a practice recommended in the US due to our country’s lack of a social safety net. I then returned to the U.S. to pursue my legal education in New York City at Columbia Law School, where I was actively involved in the Moot Court program and the Human Rights Law Journal.
After graduation, I became an American Board of Trial Advocates fellow and worked as a real estate broker focused on acquiring and developing family owned businesses. I then pursued a career in real estate development with Moctesuma Esparza’s Maya Cinemas North America, Inc., a company that builds entertainment centers in low-income communities of which the anchor tenant is a movie theatre.
Since 2011, I have developed an expertise in public law while continuing to work as an independent real estate broker and serving on the Bell City Council. I am currently Vice-Mayor of the City of Bell and Of Counsel with a law firm providing guidance on varied matters to clients, most of which are water boards and school districts in the areas of Land Use, Labor & Employment, California Public Records Act and the Ralph M. Brown Act.
I am and have been deeply committed not only to public sector unions but also to the labor movement. The importance of unions has been evident to me since I was a child. My father was a member of HERE and some of my earliest memories include him taking me to union meetings. I think it is this early exposure that has inspired my lifelong interest in labor and organizing.
My organizing experience began with the United Farm Workers and later with SEIU, International, organizing workers in Orange County. I have also served as a community organizer for LAUSD.
In addition to organizing, I have also studied labor and organizing. While in college, I analyzed the Bracero program and its implication for a future guest worker program and I wrote a Master’s Thesis which provided an economic and theoretical analysis of the impact of outsourcing business practices on the U.S., labor unions and developing countries, concluding that outsourcing was not a practice recommended in the US due to our country’s lack of a social safety net.