The Redlands Community News asked the candidates in the 23rd state Senate District, which includes Highland, to explain why they should be elected. Here are their responses in their own words.

Abigail Rosales-Medina is the eldest of three and a daughter of working-class immigrant parents. In her youth, Abigail was a part of the foster care system as well as in and out of different schools. As a result, she understands first hand the dire need to combat poverty and the need to prioritize resources for youth.

Abigail is also a mother of five, and raised her family in San Bernardino and Highland. As a young mother, she worked in fields picking tomatoes in central California to help support her family. There she witnessed many of the struggles that farm-workers face from exposure to toxins, the health disparities, to the lack of being paid a livable wage.

As a mother, Abigail knows the many concerns parents have regarding quality education and access to higher education. She was motivated to become involved when she saw that her son was being misclassified. She also understands the need for vocational pathways that will set up students for success.

Overall, Abigail values education because it provides an opportunity for generations to come out of poverty. She ran as a school board member to push for an environment that is safe and supportive for students. One that equips students as best as they can for college, vocational, and career paths. Ultimately, one that allows students to be ready for what they choose to do after high school.

Prior to serving on the San Bernardino City Unified School District Board, Abigail worked with numerous community organizations including the Congregation Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE) as a parent organizer, the Health Advocates, and the California Association for the Gifted and the District African American Advisory Council.

Since being elected to the school district board in 2013, Abigail has taken the lead on the board’s budget and strategic planning. Under her leadership, high school graduation rates have exceeded state and county standards for the first time in more than 40 years. Abigail has also spearheaded efforts to increase parent engagement, expand AVID programs into elementary schools, and has advocated to align graduation requirements to meet CSU/UC A-G requirements. She has passed several resolutions, most memorable the Safe Zone resolution and Census 2020 Complete Count resolution.

Further, Abigail has served as the executive director of Inland Region Equality Network, where she was focused on fostering an inclusive and safe space for members of the LGBTQ on a local level. Abigail has supported environmental justice efforts in the Inland Empire and in the past, served as a board member for Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice.

Abigail cares deeply about Senate District 23 and hopes to continue building community and making it a safer place to live. She plans to push for increased home ownership and affordable housing. She wants to continue to advocate for environmental protections to decrease the ongoing fight for families in the Inland Region against cancers and asthma. She will ensure protections for all residents of California, regardless of immigration status. Lastly, she wants to work with small businesses to grow our local economy, and increase accessibility of higher education.

Abigail Rosales-Medina serves on the San Bernardino City Unified School District Board of Education.

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