Jovanka (far left) with wife Nicole (far right) and family
As a children's mental health professional for Contra Costa County for decades, I've seen how the lives of our kids and their families can be transformed. As a two-term Richmond City Councilmember and long-time leader in the Richmond Progressive Alliance, I’ve experienced how working people can organize their community, overcome corporate control, and build a better future. Now I am running for the California State Assembly to transform our state government to work for people, not profit.
My story is the story of many Californians. I am an immigrant. I was born in Panama City, Panama and came to the U.S. with my parents as a child. I attended Florida A&M on a full basketball scholarship, graduating cum laude. Basketball taught me collaborative values and teamwork skills. My devotion to people who need help led me to my career in mental health and social work.
As a long-time resident of Richmond, I could not sit on the sidelines and watch a vibrant community continue to suffer from cuts to public services, severe crime, and industrial pollution. My effort to help form a merchants' association on San Pablo Avenue was an initial foray into community organizing to prevent violence.
With this experience, I joined forces with the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), ran for city council, and was elected in 2010. When I ran for re-election, I learned how corporate special interests strive to dominate the political process.
As a mental health professional, Jovanka works to develop paths to success for all students
In 2014, Chevron spent over $3 million against me and my running-mates because we insisted on corporate-free politics, strong environmental and safety protections for our community, and an independent city government. Chevron lost when thousands of Richmond residents re-elected me and chose a progressive direction for our city.
I spearheaded the City Council’s move to raise Richmond's minimum hourly wage to $15. I helped pass the first new rent control in thirty years in California and worked on a trailblazing effort to prevent homeowners from foreclosure and eviction. I championed "ban the box," successfully eliminating municipal job and housing applications’ requirement that applicants reveal conviction records. This vastly eased successful re-entry for formerly incarcerated community members. I led the city effort that won over $100 million in new tax revenue from Chevron, and worked hard to limit toxic pollution from its oil refinery. Billionaires and corporations buy elections to maintain their own power, sabotaging working people’s interests. That is why I have never taken contributions from corporations or billionaires, and never will.
As your State Assemblymember, I will work for people, not for profit.
Please join my campaign to win a California for the many, not the few.