WOC in Politics
Vanessa currently works for state Senator Connie M. Leyva who represents California’s 20th Senate District. She began her political career working for the late Senator Nell Soto and then proceeded to work for Congressman Joe Baca. She has worked on behalf of the Democratic National Committee as well as the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) as a Finance Staff Member overseeing the successful implementation of the Democratic National Convention Finance Operation in Denver and Charlotte as well as the 2013 PIC Finance Operation. She has been a dedicated volunteer for a statewide non-profit, the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, and serves on the board of the Inland Empire Hispanic Leadership Council. She studied at Cal Poly Pomona and completed a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration. She is the mother of a Boston College Eagle, Vanessa J. Ruiz-Wiarco, and is a dedicated runner, hiker, reader, and traveler. She has a passion for family, politics, and life in general.
9:30 - 10:45 AM PST
March 20th Day 1
WOC in Politics Panel
Despite diverse demographics, most politicians are still white men. Women of color make up 19% of the US population, yet they constitute only 4.5% of Congress. The absence of representation creates a lack of attention and advocacy for the issues important to underserved communities, which is why women of color need to be at the decision-making table. Their voices and experiences are necessary at every level of our political system because their participation is essential to creating a just, inclusive, and thriving society.