Assemblymember Cristina Garcia was elected to the state Assembly in November 2012 and re-elected in 2014, representing California’s 58th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Artesia, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Montebello, Pico Rivera and Norwalk.
In Sacramento, she crashed the good old boys network and is leading the way to empower women to take their seat at the table. She has insisted on parity in the tax code by introducing a bill to repeal the sales on pads, tampons and other menstrual items and lead the charge to update the definition of rape in light of Brock Turner verdict, starting a national dialogue on both issues. She has made gender equity a priority and has been pivotal in ensuring that the Women’s Caucus plays an important role in budget and policy discussions.
She is on a mission to educate, empower and engage constituents in the 58th Assembly District, women and disadvantaged communities. She fights for change, with a passion to improve the lives of working people and to brighten the path for the next generation. As a vibrant new leader of promise, she hasn't forgotten where she came from but she also knows where California should be going.
She is currently the Vice-Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus and Chairs the Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review. In addition, Assemblymember Garcia currently serves on the following legislative committees: Government Organization, Judiciary, Ethics, Water Parks and Wildlife, Natural Resources and Utilities and Commerce. She also is former Assistant Majority Leader of the State Assembly.
Assemblymember Garcia is Vice-Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, working at the forefront of making impressive change for California’s women and girls. She made addressing gender inequity a priority by introducing AB 1561, which would repeal the state sales tax on feminine health products.
In response to public outcry because of the Brock Turner case in Stanford, she introduced AB 701, a measure that would update an outdated definition of rape. An outdated law created a loophole that excluded other types of sexual assault—including forcible acts of sexual penetration by a foreign object and sodomy. Under this definition, no “rape” occurred in the eyes of the law. AB 701 states that all forms of non-consensual sexual assault may be considered rape.
Before being elected to public office, Cristina Garcia staked her claim as a warrior for ethical conduct in local and state government. When the City of Bell corruption scandal broke, gaining national attention, Bell residents turned to her to take action. She worked with concerned citizens to form the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse (BASTA), a local advocacy organization that forced Bell’s corrupt officials out of office and ushered in accountability and transparency for the first time in the city’s history.
To address the black cloud of corruption that hung over the state Capitol, Assemblymember Garcia introduced a wide ranging ethics and transparency package of bills, the “Political Conduct, Ethics and Public Trust Acts of 2014,” written to reform our political structure and help to restore the public’s trust in government. Through the political turmoil, she succeeded in her legislative efforts and was rewarded when Governor Jerry Brown signed five of her reform measures into law.
In an effort to ensure her communities were no longer left behind environmentally, Assemblymember Garcia fought to ensure environmental issues affecting her district were being addressed; whether it is fighting for more cap and trade investment, supporting the adoption and infiltration of cleaner technologies or righting man-made environmental wrongs like the Exide contamination in Commerce. In 2016, she introduced AB 2153, which creates a cleanup fund to address lead contamination, statewide.
A math teacher for thirteen years prior to joining the Assembly, Cristina taught statistics at the University of Southern California (USC), mathematics at Los Angeles City Community College and taught middle school and high school mathematics through the Jaime Escalante Program at East Los Angeles Community College and at Huntington Park High School.
As a teacher, Cristina understood the damage to students that bullying created, on both an emotional and physical level. This inspired her in 2012 to author AB 256, Cyber-Bulling legislation giving educators the authority to discipline students who engage in cyber bullying - harassment by electronic means – on, or away, from the school campus. AB 256 was signed into law by Governor Brown in 2013.
Assemblymember Garcia lives in the Southeast Los Angeles community of Bell Gardens, where she was raised and attended local public schools. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Pomona College, a Master’s Degree and a Secondary teaching credential from Claremont Graduate University and is presently a doctoral candidate at USC. In her desire to invest and celebrate the communities that invested so much in her, Assemblymember Garcia began district based initiatives like the Young Legislators Program and #Pride58.
Assemblymember Garcia launched her Young Legislators program in 2014 to mentor high school students in her district to become leaders of tomorrow. The Young Legislators are given hands-on experience, working within their communities. Students who successfully complete the program travel to the State Capitol in Sacramento where they participate in bill development, mock committee hearings and a floor session in the State Assembly chambers. The #Pride 58 program highlights the positive contributions happening every day in the 58th Assembly District. Individuals, organizations, or businesses are acknowledged every month with the #Pride58 award.
Reflective of the cultural change as a state and the new realities of a diverse population of color, Cristina Garcia has embraced her own communities with a message of hope and inclusion. She has demanded accountability in man-made environmental disasters like Exide and has pushed to make all levels of government more transparent and accountable to voters. Cristina has been recognized by California Forward with the distinguished California Forward Thinkers Award, previously earned the Distinguished Woman of the Year Award from the California State Assembly. In 2013 the Latino Journal & CAFÉ de California, presented the Spirit of Latina Award to Assemblymember Garcia for her “exemplary work to strengthen California’s Democracy and advance the representation of Latinas in Public Service.”