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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 30

Photo of Robert Rivas

Robert Rivas

State Assemblymember
64,086 votes (69.4%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Housing - Astronomical housing costs have made the dream of homeownership unaffordable for many residents of the 30th Assembly District, and costs are rising every year. California must develop more affordable housing.
  • Environment - In the Assembly, I am an advocate for renewable energy and environmental justice, and a fierce opponent of the special interests that damage our planet in the pursuit of profits.
  • Health Care - I believe access to quality health care is a fundamental right. California should set the example for the rest of the country by leading the way in expanding public access to high-quality healthcare.

Experience

Experience

Profession:California State Assemblymember, District 30
Employment Specialist and Job Training Coordinator, San Benito High School (not availa–not availa)
Professor, Gavilan College (not availa–not availa)
EMT & Paid Call Firefighter, City of Hollister (not availa–not availa)
Field Director, Assemblymember Anna Caballero (not availa–not availa)
Field Director, Assemblymember Simon Salinas (not availa–not availa)
California State Assemblymember, California State Assembly — Elected position (2018–current)
Supervisor, San Benito County Board of Supervisors — Elected position (2010–2018)

Education

San Jose State University Masters Degree, Public Administration
California State University Sacramento B.A., Government (2003)

Biography

Assemblymember Robert Rivas lives in Hollister with his wife, Christen, and their daughter, Melina.  Prior to serving as Assemblymember he served on the San Benito County Board of Supervisors form 2010 to 2018.

Robert has deep roots in San Benito County.  He was born and raised in Paicines, California, where his grandfather was a farmworker at Almaden Vineyards.  Robert and his brother Rick grew up in farmworker housing, cared for by their single mother and beloved grandparents, who immigrated from Mexico to San Benito County in the early 1960s.

Robert’s grandfather taught him the importance of service on behalf of the community.  Through him, Robert learned that you could fight fiercely for your beliefs, while respecting those with whom you disagreed.  Still, it seemed unlikely that Robert would become a community leader, at least not if doing so required public speaking.  For much of his childhood he struggled to overcome a severe stutter that rendered him

almost speechless.  His mother spent all of her savings on speech therapy, and it was only after years of work that Robert was able to overcome the disability.

Robert’s childhood experiences – growing up in a farmworker community, struggling to overcome a disability – gave him a direct understanding of the challenges faced by many in our community as they struggle to build better lives for themselves and their families.

Robert attended local public schools, first in San Juan Bautista and then, after the vineyard closed and his family moved, in Hollister.  Inspired by his grandfather, Robert decided to pursue a career in public service.  He graduated with a Bachelor’s in Government from CSU-Sacramento in 2003, and later earned a Master’s in Public Administration from San Jose State University.  He moved quickly to put his ideals into practice.  From 2003-2006, he served as a Field Director in Assemblymember Anna Caballero’s district office.  These positions allowed Rob to spend time in his community, getting to know the concerns of his neighbors and assisting Assemblymembers Salinas and Caballero as they advocated for their constituents in Sacramento.  During this time, Robert also served as an EMT and paid call firefighter for the City of Hollister. From 2008 to 2010, Robert worked as a Senior Clerk to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, where he saw the impact that Supervisors can have in shaping the future of their county.  

In 2010, inspired by his grandfather’s legacy and encouraged by community members who had gotten to know him during his years of work in local government, Robert declared his candidacy for San Benito County Supervisor. He won that election with over 70% of the vote. While serving as Supervisor, Robert stayed active in the community.  He was a professor at Gavilan College, where he taught a political science course.  He served as an employment specialist and job training coordinator at San Benito High School, helping students prepare for their first jobs.  Perhaps most importantly, he and his wife Christen started their family.

In 2018 Robert was elected as Assemblymember for the 30th Assembly District and currently serves on the Agriculture Committee, Appropriations, Governmental Organization Committee, Local Government Committee, and Rules Committee. He is the Chair of the Joint Committee on Fairs Allocation and Classification.

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

Total money raised: $582,290

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

1
Anheuser-Busch InBev
$9,400
1
Edison International
$9,400
1
Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits
$9,400
2
Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC)
$9,300
2
SEIU California
$9,300

More information about contributions

By State:

California 81.53%
District of Columbia 2.33%
Florida 1.88%
Missouri 1.56%
Other 12.70%
81.53%12.70%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.40%)
Small contributions (0.60%)
99.40%

By Type:

From organizations (88.05%)
From individuals (11.95%)
88.05%11.95%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I am proud of what I have already accomplished in the Assembly and I look forward to continuing to fight for the issues we care about.  This past year, several critical bills that I authored were signed into law, including; an affordable housing bill that identifies surplus government property for much needed housing; an oil spill bill that addresses response and contingency planning; environmental justice legislation that ensures all communities are involved in the decision making process; the Golden State Teacher Grant Program; and maybe most importantly, the Farmworker Housing Act of 2019 that provides quality, dignified housing for farmworkers in California.  Having grown up in farmworker housing, I cannot express how important this bill was for me to author.

 As a former teacher, I was also proud to author AB 1623, establishing the “Golden State Teacher Grant Program”, which provides scholarship grants for students in exchange for their commitment to teach for four years in education shortage areas such as Special Education, Bilingual, and STEM.  Bills like this incentivize students to give back to the communities that raised and educated them, creating a stronger community for us all.

 And most recently, the Farm Worker Housing Act of 2019 was also passed, working to strike a balance between the needs of the agricultural community and the needs of the workforce, ultimately strengthening the entire industry.  Having grown up in farmworker housing, it was incredibly important for me to author this legislation that creates an opt-in, streamlined process to build farmworker housing, ensures the housing is dignified, quality and family friendly, and puts safeguards in place to protect the environment. 

With your support, I look forward to continuing to serve the 30th Assembly District in the California State Assembly.

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