Meet Rafa

I grew up in Hollister, an agricultural town off the central coast of California.

My parents were immigrants from Mexico who worked tirelessly in both seasonal agriculture and construction. With the help of a loan program meant for low-income workers, they were able to buy and build their own home for their family. These humble beginnings instilled in me a strong work ethic, grit, and determination. 

I eventually studied health care at San José State University, majoring in Therapeutic Recreation. While in school I volunteered my time supporting local youths, veterans and held leadership positions within student organizations. In 2011 I  received my bachelor’s degree and soon after joined state service with the Department of State Hospitals then later at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. While working for the state, I focused on advocating for an improved quality of life for incarcerated individuals in the Mental Health system. I worked on providing the best possible care for those that needed it and ensured that each person was treated with dignity and compassion.

While working at the California Health Care Facility, I was exposed to injustices towards my colleagues. I stood up and became active in the labor movement. I became a union steward and helped colleagues through representation at the state personnel board, participation in labor-management committees, and overall organizing. 

For this same reason, and at the same time, I pursued my law degree from Lincoln Law School of Sacramento. I was elected as Student Bar Association President and focused on providing students with access to jobs and mental health. In 2019 I passed the California State Bar. 

To this day I continue to fight for workers’ rights as a Union Representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

I strongly believe in defending and advocating for workers’ rights. If elected I will focus on enhancing workplace protections as well as the health and safety of our workforce.

I live near downtown Sacramento with my wife, Carmelita, and our two cats.