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University of La Verne, La Verne, California
Sep 2015 to Jun 2020
Doctor of Public Administration · Public Policy & Government


California State University, San Bernardino, California
Class of 2013 · Master of Public Administration
Class of 2012 · Bachelor of Arts · Public Administration


Riverside City College, Riverside, California
Class of 2011 ·Associate in Arts · Social and Behavioral Studies



My Dad Inspired Me, Life Prepared Me, I'm Ready to Serve My City 


From “My Dad Inspired Me, Life Prepared Me, I’m Ready to Serve My City,” originally published on Medium, February 23, 2019.

On the morning of December 9, 2018, I was sitting with my dad having a cup of coffee, just like I had done almost everyday that year. In between sips and catching him up on all the important life events that happened since I kissed him goodnight the night before, I started talking to him about the possibility of transitioning from a person who worked in the city to an actual elected official.

Like most who dream of holding office, I talked about all the wonderful changes that I could make and how one day the City of San Bernardino could again be an All-America City and how I would get to be a part of that. How I would be able to look into the eyes of the hopeful and eager interns and be able to honestly say, “I was once where you are now and I promise you with hard work and perseverance you will achieve your dreams.”

Before I could ramble on more, my dad stopped me and asked why I said perseverance and not success. I looked at him and said because perseverance is what makes you successful.

He smiled and nodded his head in agreement and said “Ah!” (as he had right before every life lesson he had ever taught me). He said, “Don’t ever forget five miles is five miles whether you walk, run or crawl. That distance will never change and everyone, whether they got there in five minutes or five days all went the same distance in their own time.” He also said that in order to lead you have to know (A) where you are coming from and (B) where you are going. And then he asked me the question, “So what makes you qualified to lead your city?”


I said, “Dad, because I‘ve gone through some of the same things that the City and my neighbors are going through now. I understand it, I empathize, and I have been able to persevere and become successful just like I know they will too.”

I recounted my own personal story to him, which, of course, he already knew. In 2007, I filed my own bankruptcy. I was making $8.00 an hour working 40 hours a week, trying to cover rent, utilities, school, my car, groceries, paying medical bills that weren’t covered by my insurance company and was leaving an abusive relationship. I was struggling and had to look at the reality of my situation, just like the City did and just like some of our residents have had to do and so I filed. I know there are some who like to put a stigma on people who have or had a bankruptcy, but I will tell you firsthand, it is not the worst thing to ever happen to you and it is not the worst thing that ever happened to this City. Sometimes it is the only and best option for you to be able to reorganize, start fresh and get right. And by the way, that doesn’t just happen overnight. The day after I filed for bankruptcy I was still only making $8.00 an hour and still struggling.

Having to pay my rent and other household bills to survive at times left me with lapsing car insurance which I found out the hard way could end up costing me more after getting a citation during a lapse. Regardless, with hard work and perseverance, I got through it. That’s how I know that our City can too.


My experiences taught me how to be extremely fiscally responsible. I now manage my income and bills with an iron fist, always striving for more of a cushion for life’s uncertainties. At one point, I was forced to take a friend to court who borrowed $100 and didn’t repay me because I knew that $100 at one point in my life was the difference between car insurance and no car insurance.

After I told him all of that, my dad said, “Well then that’s enough talking about it, go do it.”

I smiled and said, “I want to, but you also know how things are when you run. People say bad things about you and even though the things I have been through have made me who I am today, others will say negative things about it.”

That’s when my dad sat up and looked me in the eyes and said, “Don’t you ever let someone intimidate you or make you afraid to pursue and achieve your goals. Promise me you won’t.” He added, “You only get one life, one chance to do what you want to do in this world. People are going to say what they are going to say, come against you and try to hold you back. They will only succeed if you let them.”

With that we finished our coffee and he said he was tired and wanted to rest before lunch. I said, “Ok, rest and I’ll wake you up later. I love you.”

He said, “I love you more.”

That was the last conversation we had, he laid down and went to sleep and slipped into a coma he passed away a day and a half later.

In January 2018, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer and given only a 10% chance of making it to Christmas. While I had given San Bernardino my first six years, my dad became my whole world last year. I traded City Hall and meetings for hospitals and chemo treatments; my career in the public sector for every second I could have with him. We got to do a lot of firsts together for the last time and I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world. In this last year I have learned so much about strength, faith and love. We knew the reality but never stopped believing and although my dad is no longer physically by my side, he is with me every day, watching and guiding me.