Gonzalez said her mother was tired and had blood on her shoes from a hard day on the hospital wards – but she didn't even bother to change her shoes before they made a mad dash for the polling station.
"It was that important for her to vote, and it always stayed with me," Gonzalez said. "I never missed an election from the day I turned 18."
Since that day in November 1988, Gonzalez has gone on to become one of the most influential legislators in the Golden State.
She helped raise the minimum wage to $15, and is the main force behind Assembly Bill 5, a controversial new law that reclassifies many contractors as employees. POLITICO Magazine dubbed her one of its top 50 "thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics" in 2016.
Based in San Diego, Gonzalez represents a community that she describes as "overwhelmingly Latino." She's deeply concerned about the White House's anti-immigration policies and the impact COVID-19 is having on essential workers, who are contracting the disease at disproportionately high rates.
So she's working hard to get the message out among her constituents about voting, and said women in particular are likely to make a big impact at the ballot box this November.
"Whether it's white suburban women deciding this was not what they had signed up for, Black women who have become our symbol of trust and guidance or Latinas who know that for the betterment of their children, their community, that they have to vote," Gonzalez said. "I think women are very much going to matter in this election."
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