Before I was elected to the California Assembly in 2004, where I represented the Ventura and Santa Barbara area, I worked with the hard core unemployed, helping them obtain job training and placing them in gainful employment and then became a Deputy District Attorney in Fresno and Santa Barbara Counties. While in Fresno, I headed up the Targeted Narcotics Prosecution Unit. Later, in Santa Barbara, I worked in the Consumer/Business law section.
After leaving the DA’s office, I tried cases for another 17 years as a civil litigator.
I’ve always been invested in my community, having been President of the Board of Trustees for the Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law, and the Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and serving as a Board Member of the Santa Barbara Women Lawyers, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Santa Barbara Jewish-Latino Roundtable and as an Honorary Board Member of the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. I also received the first Women’s Economic Ventures “Man of Equality” Award.
I served on the California Coastal Commission for 8 years and am the only member to have been appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly and then the President Pro-Tem of the Senate.
While in the legislature, I served as the Chair of the following committees: Transportation, Banking and Finance, Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, the Select Committee on California’s Green Economy and the Joint Committee on Emergency Management. I also served on the Assembly Appropriations, Higher Education, Health, Judiciary, Insurance, Business and Professions, Joint Legislative Audit, Assembly representative to the Little Hoover Commission, Ocean Protection Council and California Transportation Commission.
In 2011, I was appointed to the California Department of Fish & Game Blue Ribbon Commission to assist in the development of the Wildlife Strategic Vision.
Since leaving the legislature, I’ve had the pleasure of working with one of the country’s largest communication companies helping them with environmental issues and with the California Public Utilities Commission; I’ve advised clients on matters involving agriculture, energy, water and the environment. I’ve advised non-profits and small business owners on how to navigate through turbulent times and still remain optimistic and successful.
In 2013, I was appointed by then Speaker John A. Perez to the Little Hoover Commission and have served as Chair for the last 2 years.
I’m grateful for the experience I’ve had-it confirmed what I’ve always believed, that one size won’t fit all and that while it’s easy to focus on our differences, it’s much more rewarding to find solutions and solve problems.