Magdalena graduated from Independence High School here in San José and had worked for this community for decades. Growing up the child of immigrant parents, Magdalena learned the value of hard work and community service at a young age, a value that has propelled her to serve families, children and this community her entire life.
Magdalena was the first in her family to finish high school, from there she went to UC Santa Barbara to pursue her degree in Chicano Studies. Magdalena worked her way through college as a caregiver at home for youths transitioning between juvenile hall to the adult world. She taught them life skills, conflict resolution, anger management and how to respect themselves and their communities.
After college, Magdalena came home to serve her community. Her passion for improving the quality of life for children and families led Magdalena to a ten-year career with the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children Services. There, she served as a powerful advocate and spokesperson for the Foster Care and Adoptions Program.
Magdalena also served as a Family and Child Advocate with First 5 Santa Clara. At First 5, Magdalena has had firsthand experience with families and children in difficult home situations and has seen the profound ways violence impacts our community. In her role as a community advocate, Magdalena helps rehabilitate perpetrators of violence and helps their families get the help they need to get back on their feet.
As the District 5 Councilmember, she has brought endless energy to the abatement of illegal dumping and graffiti hosting countless of community clean-ups with more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service for these East Side projects. Every summer, she hosts a National Night Out event where over 3,500 residents come out to enjoy an evening of zip lining, BBQ, meeting their local police officers, and other fun activities. Also, over 1,000 students walk away with a backpack full of school supplies.
During her tenure, she is proud of the accomplishments that directly improve the lives of the residents of East San José residents and the entire city. Magdalena has focused policies on women and families including the passage of the Women's Bill of Rights, and increased funding for services that assist survivors of domestic violence. She has attacked blight in our community, strengthened policies to address human trafficking, created paths for good paying jobs with city investment. In addition, during her tenure, the City has developed a clean energy program, addressed infrastructure needs and are working hard to build thousands of homes for residents at all income levels while providing enhanced protections for current renters. She has continued to champion issues such as wage theft, open space, and early education. She has taken on the fight for equity within the cannabis industry, most recently the passage of the cannabis equity permitting program to ensure those who have been most impacted by the prohibition on cannabis have equal access to the legal, economic opportunities in San José.
She was appointed by Mayor Sam Liccardo to be Vice Mayor from 2017-2019, the first Councilmember from East San José in over 30 years. In the past two years, she has successfully worked to increase women and people of color in our local political representation at all levels continuing her belief that the true goal of a leader is not where you stand but who you bring with you.