Dec 15


WATSONVILLE, CA— Drawing support from one of the region’s most influential local and state leaders, today Watsonville Mayor Pro-Tem Karina Cervantez Alejo raked-in an endorsement from former California Assembly Speaker Pro-Tem Fred Keeley in her bid to represent California’s 30th Assembly District seat.

Keeley has led an expansive career in local and state public office, first getting involved in government work in Santa Cruz County back in 1981 as an aide to a County Supervisor and in 1984 serving as Chief of Staff to Congressman Sam Farr, when Farr served in the State Assembly. Four years later, Keeley won a seat on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and served until he was elected to the State Assembly. After leaving the Legislature, Keeley ran and won a race to serve as Santa Cruz County Treasurer, until recently when he retired from the position. He is still enormously active locally, particularly when it comes to environmental issues.

In announcing his endorsement, former California Assembly Speaker Pro-Tem Fred Keeley released the following statement:

“Whether it’s advocating for smart and sustainable environmental protections or increasing investments in renewable energy, standing up for working people and economic injustices, or increasing access to our education system, Karina Cervantez Alejo is the best candidate to represent the 30th District in the State Assembly. She’s a bold thinker, determined and effective. I know she’ll make our region proud.”

Just yesterday, Councilwoman Karina Cervantez Alejo released a series of 25 new community endorsers, which in addition to the 194 individuals and organizations who previously announced their endorsements, brought her total number of supporters to over a significant 215 in total. Those who endorsed yesterday include:

  1. California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso (Ret.)
  2. Hollister School Board Member Beatrice Gonzales Ramirez (Ret.)
  3. San Juan Bautista Mayor Ed Lavarone (Ret.)
  4. Salinas Community Leader Tony Acosta
  5. Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital District Board Member Rafael Garcia
  6. Salinas City Elementary School Board Member & Attorney Stephen Kim
  7. Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital District Board Member Victor Rey
  8. Doctor Ariel Hurtado of Hollister’s Hazel Hawkins Hospital
  9. Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers’ President Francisco Rodriguez*
  10. Classroom Teacher & President of the Pajaro Valley Association of Mexican American Educators (AMAE)* Abel Mejia
  11. Classroom Teacher Leah Sugarman
  12. Classroom Teacher Lucia Villarreal
  13. Classroom Teacher & Filmmaker John Speyer
  14. Classroom Teacher Ruby Vasquez
  15. Classroom Teacher Inez Rodriguez
  16. Classroom Teacher Tony Navarro
  17. Watsonville Community Leader Gary Green
  18. Watsonville Personnel Commissioner Pat Fohrman
  19. Watsonville Parks & Recreation Commissioner Issac Rodriguez
  20. Watsonville Parks & Recreation Commissioner Ana Hurtado
  21. Filmmaker & Founder of Watsonville Film Festival Consuelo Alba
  22. Gilroy Dentist John Perez
  23. Gilroy Community Leader Rachel Perez
  24. Gilroy Community Leader Shirley Trevino
  25. Gilroy Community Leader Sally Armendariz

Recently the Councilwoman rolled out labor recommendations from SMART Transportation Union Local 23 and Laborers Local 270. Beyond those listed above, her previously released list includes the following organizations and leaders:

  1. California Police Chiefs’ Association
  2. California Latino Legislative Caucus
  3. Mexican American Bar Association (MABA) PAC
  4. Pajaro Valley Cesar Chavez Democratic Club
  5. California Legislative Democratic Women’s Caucus
  6. Northern California Carpenters
  7. National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) of California
  8. California Nurses Association (CNA)
  9. California Women’s List
  10. California Federation of Teachers
  11. U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez
  12. U.S. Congresswoman Norma Torres
  13. California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
  14. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla
  15. California State Controller Betty Yee
  16. California State Treasurer John Chiang
  17. California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones
  18. California State Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León
  19. California State Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (Ret.)
  20. California Board of Equalization Chair Jerome Horton
  21. California Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma
  22. California State Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning
  23. California State Senator Ben Hueso
  24. California State Senator Ed Hernandez
  25. California State Senator Tony Mendoza
  26. California Legislative Black Caucus Vice Chair & State Senator Isadore Hall
  27. California State Senator & Past Chair of California Latino Legislative Caucus Ricardo Lara
  28. California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins
  29. California State Assembly Speaker-Elect Anthony Rendon
  30. California Latino Legislative Caucus Chair & State Assembly Member Luis Alejo
  31. California Legislative Black Caucus Chair & State Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer
  32. California Women’s Legislative Caucus Vice Chair & State Assembly Member Cristina Garcia
  33. State Assembly Member Tony Thurmond
  34. State Assembly Member Rob Bonta
  35. State Assembly Member Kevin McCarty
  36. State Assembly Member Miguel Santiago
  37. State Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez
  38. State Assembly Member Ian Calderon
  39. State Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia
  40. State Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez
  41. State Assembly Member Roger Hernandez
  42. State Assembly Member Jose Medina
  43. State Assemblyman David Chiu
  44. State Assembly Member Chris Holden
  45. State Assembly Member Henry T. Perea
  46. State Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez
  47. State Assembly Member Rudy Salas
  48. State Assembly Member Matt Dababneh
  49. State Assembly Member Mark Stone
  50. State Assembly Member Kevin Mullin
  51. State Assembly Member Tom Daly
  52. State Assembly Member Jim Wood
  53. State Assembly Member Susan Bonilla
  54. State Assembly Member Rich Gordon
  55. State Assembly Member Shirley Weber
  56. State Assembly Member Mike Gipson
  57. State Assembly Member Mike Gatto
  58. State Assembly Member Phil Ting
  59. State Assembly Member Das Williams, Chair of API Caucus
  60. State Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin
  61. State Assembly Member Ed Chau
  62. State Assembly Member Adam Gray
  63. State Assembly Member Kansen Chu
  64. State Assembly Member Autumn Burke
  65. State Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell
  66. State Assembly Member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas
  67. State Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian
  68. State Assembly Member Jim Cooper
  69. State Assembly Speaker (Ret.) & State Senator Bob Hertzberg
  70. State Senator Connie Leyva
  71. State Senator (Ret.) & L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo
  72. State Assembly Member Steve Bradford (Ret.)
  73. State Assembly Member  Mariko Yamada (Ret.)
  74. State Assembly Speaker & Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (Ret.)
  75. State Assembly Member (Ret.) & Monterey County Supervisor Simon Salinas
  76. Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart
  77. Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller (Ret.)
  78. Watsonville Police Chief Terry Medina (Ret.)
  79. Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak (Ret.)
  80. Santa Cruz County Sheriff Steve Robbins (Ret.)
  81. Gonzales Police Chief Paul Miller
  82. Greenfield Police Chief Joe Grebmeier (Ret.)
  83. Watsonville Police Chief Manny Solano
  84. Marina Police Chief Eddie Rodriguez
  85. Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosell
  86. San Benito County Supervisor Jaime De La Cruz
  87. San Benito County Supervisor Margie Barrios
  88. Santa Cruz County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty
  89. Santa Cruz County Office of Education President Sandra Nichols
  90. Santa Cruz County Office of Education Board Member Abel Sanchez
  91. Santa Cruz County Board of Education Trustee Dana Sales
  92. Santa Cruz Commission for the Prevention Of Violence Against Women Appointee Martine Watkins*
  93. Santa Cruz County Supervisor John Leopold
  94. Santa Cruz County Board of Education Trustee Jack Dilles
  95. Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Member Zach Friend
  96. Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisor Member Neal Coonerty (Ret.)
  97. Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane
  98. Santa Cruz Mayor (Ret.) & UC-AFT Union Organizer Mike Rotkin*
  99. Santa Cruz Mayor Katherine Beiers (Ret.)
  100. Santa Cruz Mayor Hillary Bryant (Ret.)
  101. Santa Cruz Vice Mayor Cynthia Mathews
  102. Santa Cruz City Council Member Cynthia Chase
  103. Santa Cruz City Council Member Richelle Noroyan
  104. Santa Cruz County Office of Education Superintendent Michael Watkins
  105. Santa Clara County Office of Education Board Member for Area 7 (representing Morgan Hill Unified, Gilroy Unified) Member Claudia Rossi
  106. Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez
  107. Morgan Hill Mayor Steve Tate
  108. Soledad Mayor Richard Ortiz (Ret.)
  109. Hollister City Council Member Robert Scattini (Ret.)
  110. Greenfield Mayor John Huerta
  111. Greenfield City Council Member Agapito Vasquez (Ret.)
  112. Greenfield City Council Member Avelina Torres
  113. Santa Cruz County Supervisor Tony Campos (Ret.)
  114. Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education Member Jaime Rosso
  115. Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education Member Fred Tovar
  116. Gilroy Unified School Board Member Domingo Payne (Ret.)
  117. Gilroy Arts and Culture Commission Member Bruce Morasca*
  118. Gilroy Parks & Recreation Commission Member Rebecca Scheel
  119. Pajaro Valley Unified School District Trustee Maria Orozco
  120. Pajaro Valley Unified School District Trustee Lupe Rivas
  121. Pajaro Valely Unified School District Trustee Karen Osmundson
  122. Salinas Union High School District Trustee Phillip Tabera
  123. Salinas Union High School District Trustee Patty Padilla-Salsberg
  124. Watsonville Vice-Mayor Felipe Hernandez
  125. Watsonville Council member Lowell Hurst, also former Mayor
  126. Watsonville Former Mayor Daniel Dodge
  127. Watsonville Former Mayor Manual Bersamin
  128. Watsonville Former Mayor Eduardo Montesino
  129. Watsonville Former Mayor Todd McFarren
  130. Watsonville Former Mayor Oscar Rios
  131. Watsonville Planning Commission Vice Chair Aurelio Gonzalez*
  132. Watsonville Planning Commissioner Dobie Jenkins*
  133. Watsonville Planning Commissioner Jenny Sarmiento*
  134. Watsonville Planning Commissioner Mireya Gomez (Ret.)
  135. Washington Unified School District Board of Trustees Member & Member of Latino School Board Association Norma Alcala
  136. King City Council Member Carlos Victoria (Ret.)
  137. King City Councilmember Junior Nuno (Ret.)
  138. Morgan Hill City Council Member Marilyn Librers
  139. Morgan Hill City Council Member Rich Constantine
  140. Gavilan College Board of Trustees Member Elvira Robertson Zaragoza (Ret.)
  141. San Jose Unified School District Board Vice-President Teresa Castellanos
  142. Franklin-McKinley School District Board Member Omar Torres
  143. Monterey County Board of Education Trustee Sergio Alejo
  144. Hartnell College Trustee & SEIU Local 521 Salinas City Employees Chapter Co-President Ray Montemayor*
  145. Hollister City Council Member Victor Gomez
  146. Watsonville City Council Member Ramon Gomez (Ret.)
  147. Hartnell College Trustee Demetrio Pruneda
  148. Monterey County Board of Education Member David Serena (Ret.)
  149. Monterey County Board of Education Member Francisco Estrada, Sr.
  150. Salinas City Council Member Sergio Sanchez (Ret.)
  151. Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital District Board Trustee Pat Egan (Ret.)
  152. Salinas City Council Member Ernesto G. Gonzalez Jr. (Ret.)
  153. Alum Rock Union School District Governing Board Member Andres Quintero
  154. Artesia City Council Member Ali Sajjad Taj
  155. Civil Rights & Labor Icon, Co-Founder of United Farm Workers of America (UFW) Dolores Huerta
  156. California Democratic Party Vice Chair Alex Rooker
  157. California Democratic Party Secretary Daraka Larimore-Hall
  158. Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers’ Immediate Past President Steve McDougall*
  159. California Democratic Party Chicano Latino Caucus Chair Carlos Alcalá*
  160. Santa Cruz County Democratic Activist and business leader Les Gardner*
  161. Salinas Valley Democratic Club Immediate Past President Brandi Garcia*
  162. Silicon Valley Young Democrats Secretary & Commissioner of Santa Clara County Child Abuse Council Juan Quinones*
  163. Silicon Valley Young Democrat & San Jose City Council Member Raul Peralez*
  164. Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers Past President Theresa Sage*
  165. Democratic Activists for Women Now (DAWN) member KarinaDominguez*
  166. Democratic Women’s Club of Santa Cruz County member and Vice-President of the Digital NEST Rose Filicetti*
  167. Santa Cruz County Democratic Party Executive Board Member Pedro Castillo*
  168. Santa Cruz County Democratic Central Committee Member Ed Manning*
  169. Santa Cruz County Democratic Central Committee Member Pat Manning*
  170. Santa Cruz County Democratic Central Committee Member Joe Hall*
  171. Teamsters Local 890 Labor Negotiator Mike Johnston*
  172. Santa Cruz County American Association of University Women Member Bettye Pina*
  173. Monterey County Democratic Central Committee Member James Thomas Green*
  174. Silicon Valley Young Democrats Past Secretary Victoria Ramirez*
  175. Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley President & Santa Clara Commission on the Status of Women Appointee Christina Ramos*
  176. Santa Clara Commission on the Status of Women Appointee Chandra Brooks*
  177. Santa Clara Commission on the Status of Women Appointee Maria Garcia*
  178. People’s Democratic Club of Santa Cruz County Corr. Secretary Officer Brian Murtha*
  179. People’s Democratic Club of Santa Cruz County Communication Officer Nancy Abbey*
  180. La Raza Lawyers of Santa Cruz County Past President Edison Jensen*
  181. Women Lawyers of Santa Cruz County Founder Sarah Clarenbach*
  182. Monterey County Democratic Central Committee Etna Monsalve
  183. Monterey County Democratic Central Committee Teri Short
  184. California Democratic Party State Delegate Margaret Rebecchi*
  185. Local Realtor Becky Campos of Watsonville
  186. Greenfield Democratic Club Member & Local Leader David Kong
  187. Democratic National Committee (DNC) Member Shawn Bagley, the first DNC member ever from the Central Coast
  188. Becky Chavez, Granddaughter of Cesar Chavez
  189. Walt Glines, Gilroy resident, member Gavilan College Board of Trustees
  190. Alisal Union School District Board of Trustees Member Francisca Salinas Gonzalez (Ret.)
  191. Local Business Leaders & Philanthropists’ Cecilia & Gary Ponzini of Morgan Hill
  192. Business Leader George Couch
  193. Daniel J. Kenney, Open Space Advocate, Central Coast MoveOn.org and Democracy For America Member
  194. Jacob Martinez, Tech Entrepreneur

Notably, Councilwoman Cervantez Alejo has been leading by every measurement in the race for the 30th Assembly District seat. As of the June 30th fundraising deadline, she had raised close to six times more than any candidate in the race, with $150,109 raised in total, and a sizable $144,244 cash-on-hand.


Elected to the Watsonville City Council in 2012, Karina Cervantez Alejo is only the second Latina in the City’s history to serve on the Council. In 2014, she served as Mayor.


In 2014, Cervantez Alejo led the City Council’s effort to put Measure G, a public safety measure to increase the City’s revenue to hire more police, fire, and increase emergency response services, on the November ballot. Measure G passed with 67% of the vote.


Previously, Cervantez Alejo worked with the Community Action Board’s Youth Community Restoration Project (YCORP), where she assisted directly with youth transitioning from juvenile hall back into the community. She also helped develop youth leadership and mentorship programs, including Girlzpace, an after-school program working with young women in the City of Watsonville.


Before serving on the Watsonville City Council, Cervantez Alejo served on the Watsonville Planning Commission, the Watsonville Parks and Recreation Commission, the Santa Cruz County Democratic Central Committee, the Santa Cruz County Girls Task Force, and as the co-chair of the Santa Cruz County Immigration Action Group. Previously, she was appointed as a statewide at-large delegate for President Barack Obama to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Currently, Cervantez Alejo sits on various City and County committees in her capacity as an elected leader, including: Board of Directors of Santa Cruz METRO Transit District; Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission; City-County-Schools Intergovernmental Committee; the League of Cities Board of Directors where she represents the 18 cities in the Monterey Bay Division; and as a Gubernatorial appointee serving on the Central Coast Water Quality Control Board.


Cervantez Alejo is a graduate of Porterville High School and is the daughter of farmworkers who continue to work in the agricultural fields of the Central Valley. She received her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree and her master of science (M.S.) degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz. She is currently completing her doctoral (PhD) degree in psychology also from UC Santa Cruz.


*Titles for Identification Purposes Only.