Sister Act: The Remarkable Road To History For Two CA Legislators
Blanca Rubio and her sister Susan have made history.
The two are now the first sisters to serve in the California legislature concurrently.
Blanca represents the 48th Assembly district, her sister Susan, just elected State Senator, will serve Senate district 22.
Blanca spoke about her family's remarkable road to Sacramento at the Independent Voter Project's retreat in Hawaii, a conference attended by business, political and community leaders.
Blanca Rubio, aka Wonder Woman, at IVP Conference
The IVP retreat and conferences provide a setting away from the Capitol, to both consider expert information and engage in discussions about policy matters.
Blanca's 5th Grade Dream
"It all begins with desire and a dream."
Rubio told me she's always been focused. When she was in the 5th grade in Los Angeles, a teacher asked Rubio what she wanted to do with her life. "I was in school and the teacher asked me what do I want to be when I grow up? I said, I'm not sure what I want to do, but I want to be in the history books."
Deportation and Path To Citizenship
The path to US Citizenship was not a direct line, but a circuitous, difficult one.
Blanca's father was in the Bracero program, working on bridges along the Texas border.
The program was an agreement between the US and Mexico that guaranteed decent living conditions and a minimum wage of 30 cents an hour. The agreement was terminated in 1964.
Once the program ended, Blanca's father decided to move the family to a little town in Texas where they lived undocumented for about two years. "I remember we went to a park, I looked up and some men in uniform were talking to my dad, and it was grab all your things and go," Blanca recalled.
The family was deported to Juarez in 1975 and crossed back into the US a couple years later to begin the push for citizenship. Because Sylvia, her youngest sister was born in El Paso during those years in Texas, she was able to sponsor the family who could then stay in the US as documented immigrants.
Independent Spirit and Making History
Nearly 2o years later Blanca and her sister became US citizens in 1994.
Blanca and Susan Rubio
Three years later, Blanca was serving as a board member for the water district in the San Gabriel Valley. "When I became a citizen I was like let's go! Let's do this, I viewed it as the opportunity of a lifetime and haven't looked back."
Both Democrats, each is proud of their independent spirit and willingness to work across the aisle. Democrats now have a supermajority in Sacramento, but with that comes challenges, "Because of our upbringing we really are focused on working for the people, not just the parties we represent. My sister and I have truly independent spirits and that reflects in our positions," Blanca continued, "We are so proud of the history we have made. It's hard to communicate what our parents and our kids feel. We recognize the history and will never take it for granted."