Anna Caballero was elected in November 2019 to the California State Senate to represent the 12th Senate District, which includes the Salinas Valley, all of San Benito and Merced Counties as well as portions of Stanislaus, Madera and Fresno Counties.
Senator Caballero received her undergraduate degree from UC San Diego, and her law degree from UCLA. After graduating law school she moved to Salinas to provide legal services for farmworkers. Along with her partners, Anna made the commitment to open offices in Salinas and Hollister and provide legal services to working families at a reasonable rate. She also started a non-profit called, “Partners in Peace” to develop strategies reducing youth and gang violence that included implementing early childhood literacy programs, a youth jobs program and more.
Anna has a 30+ year legacy of public service in her community. At the request of her housing association, she successfully ran for the Salinas City Council where she ultimately served for seven years. There, she focused her efforts on affordable housing, strengthening business and commercial opportunities for growth, the redevelopment of downtown and providing more parks and recreational spaces for kids and families. In 1998, she continued shattering glass ceilings as the first female Mayor of Salinas. In this new role, she raised over $80,000 in private funds to finance city libraries, and put a measure on the ballot to raise money for essential services during a state budget crisis.
Anna continued on the trajectory of public service, being elected to the California State Assembly In 2006. There, she focused on meeting the continued needs of local residents. She made it easier for farmers to utilize their land to build farmworker housing, gave local governments more time to commit redevelopment dollars to rehabilitate affordable housing units in their communities, and created a parks grant incentive for park-poor communities who build affordable housing. She facilitated the transfer of state land to a local community to assist in the expansion of the wastewater treatment facility, and was instrumental in obtaining funds for a water agency to assist in upgrades and much-needed technology. In keeping to her core values, Anna was also able to access much-needed gang intervention funds to help reduce gang violence in the region, creating a partnership with the Highway Patrol and the Department of Justice. She was also a fierce advocate for education, voting to extend state student aid to undocumented students applying for citizenship. When government workers were forced to take a pay cut due to the budget deficit, Anna voluntarily showed her support by taking a 10% pay-cut as well. This is very characteristic of her leadership style.
From 2010 to 2016, Anna joined Governor Edmund G. Brown’s cabinet as Secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency where she helped reduce California’s $26 billion dollar deficit crisis. Under her leadership, $65 million dollars were allocated to build housing and provide services for homeless veterans, access for struggling families for home refinancing assistance, and the establishment of new funding criteria for affordable housing and sustainable communities. New funding criteria for affordable housing also included rural communities--an effort that aided in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. As Secretary she oversaw the largest civil rights department in the nation, the protection of consumer rights through the licensing of over 3 million individuals and businesses in California, and the development and maintenance of affordable housing statewide. During her time working with Governor Brown, Anna was the highest-ranking Latina in state government.
Anna’s leadership has inspired generations of young leaders to work hard, and help build a strong community for the future. She has been a tireless advocate for families, farmers, farmworkers, veterans, women, children, the disabled, seniors, and teachers in rural California particularly. Her work continues on in the California State Senate where in two years time she has already authored groundbreaking legislation, as well as redefining what it means to be a public servant.