D — Candidate for State Assembly, 30th District
Robert Rivas, a Democrat, is running for an open seat in the California State Assembly from the 30th District, which covers all of San Benito County, the majority of Monterey County, a quarter of Santa Cruz County, and a small sliver of Santa Clara County. Anna Caballero, a Govern for California backed legislator who currently holds the seat, is unable to run for reelection due to term limits. She supports Robert’s run for her seat.
Robert has deep roots in the district. he and his brother Rick grew up in farmworker housing, cared for by their single mother and grandparents, who immigrated from Mexico to San Benito County in the early 1960s. Overcoming a severe stutter that rendered him mostly speechless for much of his childhood, he attended local public schools and earned an undergraduate degree from CSU Sacramento and a Masters in Public Administration from CSU San Jose. From 2003-2006, he served as a Field Representative for Assemblymember Simon Salinas, and from 2006-2008, he was the Field Director in Assemblymember Anna Caballero’s district office. Robert also served as an EMT and firefighter for the City of Hollister and as a Senior Clerk to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. Robert now serves as an employment specialist and job training coordinator at San Benito High School, helping students prepare for their first jobs, and teaches a political science class at Gavilan College.
In 2010, Robert defeated a two-term incumbent to win a seat on the San Benito County Board of Supervisors with 70% of the vote, becoming the youngest County Supervisor in California. During his nearly eight years of service on the Board of Supervisors, Robert has fought to create more affordable housing and worked with the business community to bring jobs to the county. He has led efforts to repair local roads and reduce traffic congestion, and to build a flagship county library and a new county courthouse. He led contract negotiations with local firefighters to reduce costs and expand service for rural residents and stood up for transparency on the board. In 2014, Rivas led a successful effort to ban fracking (an oil extraction technique) that was contaminating local groundwater. Despite spending of over $4 million against the initiative by the oil industry, nearly two-thirds of voters sided with Robert.
In the legislature, Robert will fight to bring economic opportunity to people in all parts of California. He also understands the need to address unfunded pension and other retirement liabilities in order to maintain services for vulnerable populations and will be an important voice for fiscal responsibility in the Latino and Moderate Democrat Caucuses.
Party registration in AD30 is 51.2% Democratic, 22.4% Republican and 22.5% No Party Preference/Decline To State, a safe Democratic seat that’s a good fit for a candidate like Robert with a strong Democratic record and appeal to Latinos. Robert faces several other Democrats, including a close ally of oil companies and a local union representative. Robert should prevail in the primary and defeat his general election opponent handily, whether a Democrat or Republican.