Experience & Expertise

Land Use and Zoning Permitting

  • Served as a member of the San Jose Planning Commission for seven years. Worked on general plan and zoning policies and permitting issues, including development of greenbelt and economic development policies.
  • Coordinated planned development rezoning applications for new housing development proposals.
  • Worked on redevelopment and economic revitalization land use planning efforts on local and state levels.
  • Worked on coalition building and grassroots support for affordable housing development.
  • Familiar with CEQA and conditional/special use permit processes.


  • Worked with CARB and SQAQMD and other local air quality districts on climate change policies and regulatory proposals impacting goods movement private sector in California. This included freight railroads, ports, distribution centers and trucking industry.
  • Worked with state and local air districts on air quality state legislation. This included the cap and trade program, Low Carbon Fuel Standards and facility cap emissions at freight facilities
  • Served as a state legislator on key State Assembly policy committees on energy issues. This included promoting legislative solutions to meet energy demands and renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Worked on California Sustainable Freight Action Plan. The plan focuses on targets for improving freight efficiency, transitioning to zero-emission technologies, and increasing the competitiveness of the state’s freight system.


  • Championed San Jose-School Collaborative, a partnership between 19 school districts and the City of San Jose to improve educational and recreational services for youth.
  • Worked on local campaign efforts for community support of school bond measures.
  • As President of San Jose Chapter of Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for scholarship grants for needy students to pursue STEM careers.
  • Supported state legislation to maintain smaller classroom sizes in state budget discussions.
  • Advocated for more affordable student fees and student outreach programs in California community colleges so that underprivileged students could attend higher educational institutions.
  • Advocated for more student financial aid and support services for community college students. This included Cal Grant Program and College Promise.
  • Co-authored state legislation that secured an additional $200 million for low-performing schools to enhance academic achievement.
  • Supported state legislation for English learners to succeed in academic performance.
  • Worked closely with community college districts and CSUs in protecting education funding levels.
  • Authored state legislation (AB1848) that preserved approximately $32 million for San Jose Unified School District, which helped maintain smaller classroom sizes and student services.
  • Advocated for additional state funding for EOPS at the community colleges.
  • Authored legislation for an additional $200 million to improve academic performance in California’s neediest schools.
  • Advocated for additional federal stimulus funds for community college districts to further address COVID-19 impacts.
  • Worked on state education finance issues impacting K-14 LEAs.
  • Promoted ESL policies and state funding proposals.


  • Promoted state tax credits for more affordable housing development opportunities throughout California.
  • Championed a higher percentage of local redevelopment funds toward low-income housing development proposals and first-time home ownership developments.
  • Authored state legislation (AB1891) that established a state-funded matching grant program to encourage the creation of new Local Housing Trust Funds and to support the 14 existing trust funds in California at the time, including Santa Clara County Housing Trust Fund. This bill dedicates $25 million of Proposition 46 funds to these trust funds.
  • Secured financing for new senior housing development and youth center. This included the project management and construction of these new facilities in San Jose.

Transportation and Goods Movement

  • As Chair of California State Assembly Budget Subcommittee on IT and Transportation dealing with state transportation funding programs, championed efforts to preserve funding levels for public transit agencies throughout California.
  • Served on the Board of the Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Agency. Led efforts to increase mass transit services to central and east San Jose communities.
  • Worked on state funding proposals for public transit districts.
  • Worked on goods movement issues impacting freight railroads and ports in California, including public safety measures like positive train control system and infrastructure improvements.


  • Worked with state regulatory bodies like the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission on issues pertaining to safety, power generation, rate-making policies, clean energy policies, cap and trade program, etc.
  • Familiar with private utility infrastructure needs and challenges. This includes transmission and distribution system and power generation requirements.
  • Worked on utility ratemaking matters, utility franchise agreements, energy conservation programs, power shutdown policies, etc.

Local Government and Agencies

  • Contract procurement for vendors.
  • Participated as an original Board Member of the Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority that laid out the groundwork for the transportation policies and fiscal goals of local public transportation in Silicon Valley.
  • Served on the State Assembly Local Government Policy Committee.
  • Served on the San Jose City Council.
  • Served as Board Member of Santa Clara County LAFCO.
  • Familiar with local municipal financing and community programs that serve these communities. This includes public safety and local city services provided.
  • As a state legislator, safeguarded approximately $100 million of San Jose’s redevelopment funds from state budget raids and reserved for the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative.
  • Helped create financing opportunities for local public agencies. Includes working with ACWA, local water districts on flood control and bond measure legislation. Received outstanding legislator recognition award from the Santa Clara Valley Water District.
  • As a city councilmember, co-authored legislation for San Jose City Council to approve a “living wage” ordnance that resulted in thousands of local workers improving their standard of living.
    As a city councilmember, got San Jose City Council to commit a portion of the city’s tobacco industry suit settlement funds to provide affordable health care (Santa Clara County Healthy Families Program) for poor children throughout Santa Clara County.

Economic Development

  • Provided strong local leadership in a massive comprehensive revitalization effort (additional $500 million private and public investment) of East San Jose neighborhoods that significantly improved the quality of life of underserved communities. This resulted in more affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, renovated and expanded public libraries, increased after school homework centers, new youth center, increased public safety measures and recreational facilities and neighborhood parks.
  • Supported efforts to increase job training opportunities provided by the San Jose-based Center for Employment Training (CET).
  • Supported efforts to revitalize business districts along Santa Clara Street and Alum Rock Avenue in San Jose. This included chairing a community task force for a major revitalization strategy for the Story and King Road commercial area.


  • Championed new Mexican Heritage Cultural Center in East San Jose and successfully got San Jose City Council to approve approximately $32 million for the construction of this facility.
  • As San Jose City Council Liaison, championed more funding support and policies to increase business procurement opportunities for minority-owned and women-owned businesses in San Jose.
  • Co-founded MANOS, based in Silicon Valley, a Latino tech accelerator for start-ups. Currently serving as special advisor for business development.
  • As a city councilmember, supported efforts to fund Washington Youth Center and Biblioteca Latino Americana with San Jose redevelopment funds (approximately $20 million).
  • Co-founded the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (originally known as CLES) in Silicon Valley region. Group dedicated towards the advancement of underprivileged youth seeking a career in engineering and the sciences.

Public Health

  • Advocated for creation of the first Santa Clara County program for more affordable healthcare insurance for poor children.
  • Authored state legislation (AB495) that appropriated over $200 million in federal funds to create an affordable statewide children’s health insurance program.
  • Authored state legislation (AB910) to protect communities from hospital closures and to help maintain hospitals and emergency health facilities throughout California.
  • Chaired state legislative task force to investigate the proposed merger of Wellpoint and Anthem health plan groups, the largest proposed merger of its kind at the time. Approximately one-third of the state’s total publicly covered enrollees of Medi-Cal and Healthy Families Managed Care Programs were affected. His leadership pushed the Wellpoint/Anthem proponents to provide additional health care funds and support (approximately $200 million) for poor families and children.
  • Advocated for fluoridation of City of Watsonville water supply.