Assemblymember Cristina Garcia has served in the state Assembly since being first elected in 2012, representing California's 58th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Artesia, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Montebello, Pico Rivera and Norwalk. First as a dynamic community organizer and civic activist, and now as a new generation of leader in the California State Legislature, Cristina has often been referred to as a "Force of Nature.”
She currently serves as chair of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources. In addition, Assemblymember Garcia currently serves on the following legislative committees: Judiciary, Ethics, Environmental Safety and Toxics, Utilities and Energy, as well as Budget Subcommittee 3 (Resources and Transportation). She also is former assistant majority leader of the state Assembly.
In addition to serving on these committees, Assemblymember Garcia is also the chair of the Legislative Women's Caucus and a member of the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, working at the forefront of making impressive change for California's women and girls.
Assemblymember Garcia is on a mission to educate, empower and engage her constituents and her colleagues in the Legislature, particularly when it comes to her three legislative priorities:
Ethics and Good Government
Socio- Economic & Environmental Justice.
Assemblymember Garcia has made addressing gender inequity a priority by introducing Assembly Bill1561 and its successor AB 9, which would repeal the state sales tax on feminine health products; she also led the charge to update the definition of rape in light of the Brock Turner verdict, starting a national dialogue on both issues. Additionally, she has been pivotal in ensuring that the Women's Caucus plays an important role in budget and policy discussions. This includes being a mentor to encourage more women to run and hold positions in public office.
Before being elected to public office, Cristina Garcia had already 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 Cristina 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 their 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.
Cristina is also a passionate advocate for issues concerning civic engagement. Today, as a statewide leader, Assemblymember Garcia continues her efforts to protect and educate our state's children and is dedicated to educating, engaging and empowering her community on all levels.
Assemblymember Garcia launched her Young Legislator's program in 2013 to mentor high school students in her district to become the leaders of tomorrow. The Young Legislators are given hands-on experience working within their communities, as they participate in local events hosted by Assemblymember Garcia's district office. Young Legislators 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. Most recently, she started her Fellows in Government program to mentor 8th graders in her district to become the change agents of the future. Like the young legislators, they are given a hands-on experience as to how government is structured and how change is made.
The Assemblymember has also been a staunch proponent on environmental justice issues. She has been instrumental on creating a funding stream for the cleanup of man-made environmental disasters like Exide. She stands up for disadvantaged communities by demanding more resources and fighting for tougher air standards like those contained in AB 617. She fought for the ability to stop emissions that pose imminent and substantial endangerment to public health with AB 1132. She has asked that small communities get their fair share by demanding more equitable distribution of investment for transportation and infrastructure so that cleaner running busses and electric vehicles can be found in South East Los Angeles.
A math teacher for thirteen years prior to joining the Assembly, Cristina taught statistics at the University of Southern California, 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, which was 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.
Cristina lives in the in the Southeast Los Angeles community of Bell Gardens, where she was raised and attended local public schools. She went on to earn 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.
Cristina has been recognized by California Forward with the distinguished California Forward Thinkers Award and previously earned the Distinguished Woman of the Year Award from the California State Assembly. In 2013, and again in 2017, 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.”