She has a compelling and inspiring story of facing adversity and overcoming the odds.
Jeannette was raised by two immigrant working-class parents who instilled hope, perseverance, and a hard-work ethic that allowed her to successfully overcome adversity. Her father was a mechanic and her mother cleaned homes. They raised their children with the values of service and giving back to a community that allowed them to better themselves. Her sister would pursue her own career in education through community college administration and her brother would go on to serve in the US Marine Corps.
Jeannette attended K-12 public schools and is a product of a Community College education. She attended Santa Monica City College as an atypical student who balanced her full-time studies along with maintaining her own family with her husband and 3-year-old daughter.
At 19 years old she was stricken with Guillan-Barre, an autoimmune disease that completely paralyzed her. Confined to a wheelchair, she had to learn how to walk, eat, and talk again. Jeannette refused to give up and fought hard to recover and finish what she started.
Community College allowed her to transfer to UCLA and earn degrees in Women’s Studies and Political Science. This experience gave Jeannette a deep understanding of the importance of Community College which allowed her access to higher education she would otherwise not be able to afford. Jeannette continued her studies to earn a Master’s degree in Public Administration from California State University, Northridge.
She began her career in print and broadcast journalism working at Telemundo/NBC News as Assignment Desk editor. Journalism was her first exposure to "real" politics. She would interview politicians and cover elections as a field producer.
This exposure to public service led Jeannette to pursue work in the areas that impacted her own family growing up: education, economic opportunity, and veteran’s issues. After her career in journalism, Jeannette and her family moved to Ventura where they have lived and worked for more than 13 years.
In the California State Assembly, Jeannette served as District Director for Assemblymember Das Williams (AD-37), and continues to serve with Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (AD-44) in the same capacity.
Public service has allowed Jeannette to not only work on legislation but also engage with the community on issues related to K-12 and Higher Education. That dual experience has given her a much deeper understanding of how education policies impact our families beyond the white papers. She understands that education is a pathway to improving our community and Community Colleges play a vital role in bridging the equity gap and providing access to all students. They offer diversity, flexibility, and skill development. They are fundamental in educating our community and lead to higher paying jobs; resulting in a better quality of life and economic growth in our county.
Her experience, insight, and ability to work with community leaders has brought solutions and results for Ventura County. Jeannette has worked on many issues such as: legislation to fund economic development to invest in infrastructure, incubators and entrepreneurship education programs for each of UC’s 10 campuses; creation of the Gold Coast Transit District in Ventura County; and the Community College Placement bill, which calls for multiple measures to be used when placing students in remedial education courses at community colleges.
In addition to her public service, Jeannette volunteers and serves on the board of various non-profits throughout Ventura County. Jeannette is the President of the Ventura County Women’s Political Council where their goal is to educate, train, and prepare women to run for office. She also serves on the Executive Board of the Turning Point Foundation, an organization dedicated to addressing homelessness and Veteran issues in Ventura County, and is also a board member of El Concilio Family Services, an immigration advocacy group.