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Leading by Example

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher combines her past and her constituents’ future to bring positive change to California.

By: Christina Orlovsky Page
POI

GROWING UP IN OCEANSIDE AND VISTA, Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher learned by example. She learned from her mother, a nurse who fought for over 40 years to establish a union at her workplace, only to have it finally come to fruition in her last year on the job. She learned from her conservative North County community, where she was one of only a few residents who identified with the Democratic party. And she learned from former Assemblyman Pete Chacon, the first Latino assembly member elected in San Diego County, who demonstrated exactly what she wanted to do with her future.

“One of my first memories is of my mother watching political conventions on television, and I grew up to believe that the best way to change things was through politics,” she says. “When I wrote essays in high school, I always said that my dream was to become an assembly member, just like Pete Chacon. I didn’t necessarily know what an assembly member did, but I knew he was just a regular guy and he was making a difference.”

If making a difference was her goal, Gonzalez Fletcher has gone above and beyond. Her early ambition led her to Stanford and Georgetown Universities, to law school at the University of California Los Angeles, and then to Sacramento, where she worked for California’s Lieutenant Governor for five years until becoming the first Latina woman elected Chief Executive Officer and Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. She was elected to the California Assembly in May 2013 and has since established herself as a voice for the underserved communities she represents in District 80, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of Barrio Logan, City Heights, Golden Hill, Otay Mesa and San Ysidro.

Since her election to the Assembly, Gonzalez Fletcher has spent her political career lobbying for the rights of workers, women, and immigrants. She has fought hard to advocate for paid sick leave for part-time workers, diapers for working mothers, and equality across the board for women and girls.

“One of my biggest passions-influenced by my mom-is women in the workplace,” she says. There are too many barriers in and out of the workplace that keep single and working mothers from achieving their full potential. I’m working to be their voice.”

With immigration issues front and center in today’s political climate, Gonzalez Fletcher is also working hard to reduce fear among her constituency while also continuing to move California forward in ways that aren’t influenced by the federal government. Still, while she spends her days striving to achieve her political goals, Gonzalez Fletcher feels her greatest achievements come at the City Heights home she shares with new husband and former assembly member Nathan Fletcher, whom she married on New Year’s Day, and their blended family, that includes a grown daughter and three sons, ages 13, 8, and 5.

“At the end of the day, I’m most proud of my kids,” she says. “Every day, my mom continues to have a big effect on my life. With everything I do, I hope I can be a good mom and a good example at home. It’s a gaggle of kids, and I love it.”

[ AN ASSEMBLYWOMAN’S SAN DIEGO FAVORITES
Restaurant: Nate’s Garden Grill. “it’s good food and it’s really fun and quirky.”

Weekend Activity for the Family: Bike riding. “I have my pink bike and Nathan has his mountain bike and we load up the truck and go everywhere from behind the Convention Center to the trails at Chollas Creek.”

Place to Unwind: The beach. “I grew up in Oceanside and my favorite place to chill out has always been the beach. it doesn’t matter if it’s Coronado or Pacific Beach—the beach is the best place to decompress. Everything just fades away when you look at the ocean.” ]