Paula is a public servant and an advocate, with extensive experience in the fields of education, health care, and emergency response.
She was elected to the San Juan Unified School District Board of Education in 2016 and served two consecutive terms as president of the board during the pandemic. Paula is a first-generation high school and college graduate and she personally knows the impact that a good school, good teachers, and good counselors have on a student’s chances to become a successful adult.
In her first term on the SJUSD Board, she led the passage of Measure P, a $750 Million bond, and the largest K-12 school bond on the ballot in 2016. Additionally, she increased access to rigorous academic programs for all students, and increased the number of counselors, social workers, and other direct student supports to improve outcomes for students.
Paula also served 3 years as Assistant Secretary for the California Health and Human Services Agency, where she led statewide COVID-19 efforts and expanded access to health and human services programs. In this work she was on the front lines of supporting public health departments, schools, and communities to address challenges due to COVID-19. As Assistant Secretary, she prioritized equitable administration of key health and human services programs to reduce health care disparities.
Paula is running for state senate to protect, defend, and improve public education, to increase access to high-quality health care, and to ensure a full COVID response and recovery for her community.