A Leader for Education and Better Government
Cristina Garcia is one of Southeast Los Angeles County’s biggest advocates for working families. In promoting ethical conduct in local and state government, she firmly believes that doing the right thing is worth the effort and that hard work pays off. She has also been a proponent for quality public education. As a professor, she is known as a tough, innovative and motivating educator. She has taught statistics at the University of Southern California (USC), Mathematics at Los Angeles City Community College, and has taught middle school and high school students through the Jaime Escalante Program at East Los Angeles Community College and Huntington Park High School.
A Local Success Story
Garcia was raised in the Southeast Los Angeles community of Bell Gardens and attended local schools. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from Pomona College, a Masters Degrees and credential from Claremont Graduate University, and is a doctoral candidate at USC.
A Government Reformer
Garcia is using what she has learned to help improve the lives of working families in the community where she grew up. Her reputation as an effective community advocate has allowed her the opportunity to demand greater accountability, transparency, and ethics in local government. When the Bell corruption scandal broke and gained national attention -Bell residents turned to Cristina and asked her to clean up their local government. She worked with them to form BASTA -the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse, a local advocacy organization. BASTA’s efforts forced out Bell’s corrupt officials, ushering in accountability and transparency for the first time in the city’s history. A new city council was elected and far-reaching reforms are now being implemented in Bell, giving citizens the good government they deserve.
A Commitment to Education
As an educator Garcia has also made a difference. She has taught Mathematics to local high students through the Jaime Escalante Program, served as a Math advocate in South LA, a tutor for elementary kids in Cudahy, and worked with the Los Angeles Community College District to help students pass the California High School Exit Exam and the GED. Last year, Cristina was recognized by California Forward with the distinguished California Forward Thinkers Award, Democrat of the Year and earned the Distinguished Woman of the Year Award from the California State Assembly.
An Example of the American Dream
Cristina attributes her tenacity and commitment to her mother’s life example. She says, “My mom is one of those no-nonsense, no-excuses people. She passionately believes in hard work and the American Dream.” She concludes, “To protect that American Dream, we desperately need to change our political system to one of service and not pay outs. Working families are the ones hurt most by corruption and greed.”