Vote on March 3rd, 2020!
I am a 3rd generation Californian. My grandparents came from Texas. They moved to California during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and settled in the Central Valley. Both my parents were born in Texas. They were farm workers and owned a small farm, where they planted cotton. We lived in Earlimart, a small town near Delano where Cesar Chavez founded the UFW-United Farmworkers.
We moved to the Bay Area in 1962. My parents rented a small farmhouse in Newark off Jarvis Avenue. Soon my dad found a job working at General Motors in Fremont, building cars and a proud member of the UAW-United Auto Workers Union. In the third grade I attended Snow Elementary School in Newark. I was awarded a “Citizen of the Year” certificate from my teacher. Ironically, as an adult, I was given a “Citizen of the Year” award by The Knights of Columbus for my Community service in Milpitas, along with an award commendation by Congressman Mike Honda.
In 1964 my parents settled in Milpitas and bought their home for $16,000! I was raised in the Sunnyhills neighborhood, a middle class blue-collar neighborhood, where most of the residents worked in the Automobile Industry. Some worked at General Motors in Fremont and some at the Ford Motor Plant in Milpitas, which is now The Great Mall. Back then It was still an agrarian community mixed with a few pockets of suburban neighborhoods. As a teenager, living in Milpitas, the only place to shop was the Fremont Hub. During our summer breaks, my mom would take us to pick walnuts in Irvington District and on Mission Blvd, so we could earn money to buy our school clothes. My early years gave me my hard work ethic. My mother only had a third grade education, but she had the most common sense approaches to life and I learned from her the value of hard work. I have in turn instilled those values to my children. We are three generations in this Valley.
Recessions come and go. During the recession of the early 1980s, our city cut services in the Sunnyhills neighborhood. When the economy improved, the city did not put back resources as they did in newer neighborhoods. I felt the city was neglecting our area simply because it was an older neighborhood. Since I was a kid, I’ve always had an affinity towards social justice. Seeing this inequity in my neighborhood, compelled me to do something about it, and that was the pivotal moment that led to my involvement in public service. I asked my good friend Bob Pecot (now deceased) if he would help me form a neighborhood group to address the needs of our neighborhood. We formed the Sunnyhills Improvement Association. Advocacy is what makes cities accountable to the people. My good friend, Bob Pecot, used to say, “ Squeaky wheel gets the Grease.” I find that still holds true today.
During this time of organizing and advocacy I was a single mom raising two children. While working and attending San Jose State University, I had the tenacity and drive to persevere in my efforts to improve my neighborhood. It is what drew me into community service in 1992. This was the same year I graduated from SJSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities. I then became a Teacher and have been teaching for over 27 years.
Due to my efforts at City Hall, I was invited by former Mayor Pete McHugh to serve on the Parks and Recreation Commission; and from there, I went on to serve on the Library Commission, and then the Planning Commission. I was elected to the School Board in the year 2000. I was elected to the Milpitas City Council in 2012 and served as Vice Mayor 2014-2016. I was reelected in 2018. Most recently, on the City Council, I formed two subcommittees: the Housing Subcommittee and the Transportation Subcommittee. On the Housing Subcommittee, Councilmember Nuñez and I created the Milpitas Assistance Program to subsidize utilities, after school care, rent mediation and a rent relief program for families facing financial hardships.
Now I am running for State Assembly. As a City Councilwoman, I have gained the experience, knowledge, and skills to lead in that capacity. In my role, I have initiated out of the box solutions and I will do the same as a State Legislator. I am a problem solver and will put forth creative ideas that will enhance the quality of life for everyone. I have the Experience, the Courage, and the Tenacity to get things done. I tend to look at the big picture and take proactive approaches when making decisions. My motto is: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I am ready to serve you, the citizens of the 25th District in Sacramento! I would be honored to have your VOTE on March 3rd 2020!
- Carmen Montano
Milpitas Councilwoman, Fmr. Vice Mayor