Consumer and Workers Protections
I have spent my career fighting to protect consumers and workers from companies and individuals who prey on our community.
In high school, I was a card-carrying member of the Teamsters Union working in a fruit cannery in San Jose. I witnessed wage disparity for women in the workplace firsthand. It fueled my commitment to fighting for people.
I worked my way up in the Santa Clara County Counsel’s office, ultimately serving as County Counsel, the lawyer for the Board of Supervisors and all elected officials and agencies of the county, for eleven years. I expanded the job to affirmatively use the law to serve the needs of the people.
- I was a member of the California Steering Committee on the nationwide tobacco case, and while at the DOJ, I fought to put the photo warning labels on cigarette packs, but the Court ruled that such warnings violated the tobacco companies’ First Amendment rights.
- The first case I developed and filed as County Counsel was against lead paint manufacturers who knowingly caused permanent brain delays to over 200,000 California children. These companies drew the suit out for 19 years, using all of their money and political clout to avoid helping the children that they hurt. I stuck with the case the whole time, even while in statewide and federal positions because I knew we had to do right by our kids. In July 2019, the paint companies finally agreed to a $305 million settlement to remove the paint.
- I also created innovative programs, including the Elder Financial Abuse litigation team that protected seniors from financial abuse from banks and others, which has returned millions of dollars to defrauded people.
- When members of the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners region were plagued with cancer after working in the uranium industry, I helped victims and their spouses receive compensation to which they were entitled and could not access due to government red tape, and I developed a program to hire and train young Navajo students to go in the reservation and sign people up to receive funds they deserved.
There is no substitute for experience when it comes to holding the powerful accountable, and I will continue to fight for consumer protection in the State Senate.