The Capital Fellows Programs are an outstanding opportunity to engage in public service, prepare for a future career and gain experience under a seasoned mentor.
Connie Leyva was elected to the 20th State Senate District on November 4, 2014. The district includes the cities and communities of Pomona, Montclair, Chino, Ontario, Fontana, Rialto, Bloomington, Colton, San Bernardino, and Grand Terrace.
When Connie Leyva’s parents moved back to California from Kansas in 1970, our state worked. We had quality schools, affordable colleges and universities, and a strong commitment to investing in the areas that made our economy strong.
Connie is committed to get California working again, with schools, jobs and opportunities that provide every family and community with the chance to prosper.
Connie learned the virtues of loyalty and hard work from her parents. Her mother Christine was a classroom instructional aide in local public schools and her father James was a clerk at the Alpha Beta grocery store. Together, they earned fair wages and benefits that allowed them to save up for a modest home in Chino and raise a family.
As a senior in high school, Connie got a job at the Alpha Beta market where her father worked. There she would meet a young clerk named Albert, now her husband of 25 years. To create more opportunities for their family, Connie began taking college courses at the University of Redlands after work.
Just as Connie was finishing her degree and about to have twins, a corporate takeover of the local grocery market left her without a job. She and her husband buckled down and got through those tough times. Later, Connie went to work at her union, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1428, helping grocery workers gain a stronger voice for fair wages and benefits.
Connie quickly gained the respect of her peers and was elected president of the local union. She successfully engaged the community to fight back against corporate attempts to take affordable health care away from grocery workers who were forced to go on strike. Connie’s commitment to workers and the needs of her community earned her statewide acclaim, and in 2004, she was elected as the first woman to be president of the California State Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, representing more than 2.1 million workers throughout the state.
Connie continues to be a leader for our neighborhoods. She runs a fundraising drive coordinated with local Stater Bros stores that have helped raise more than $1.2 million for Leukemia research. Connie partnered with the United Way to open a food pantry that has been a helping hand to nearly 4,000 people during the economic downturn. For more than 15 years she has helped thousands of needy children through the Shoes That Fit program and Kingsley Elementary. Connie also organizes an annual day of service for Veterans that provides meals, care packages, haircuts, and building maintenance for those who have served our country. As a parent, she has always made volunteering with her daughters' school and softball teams a priority.
Connie will continue fighting for the things that every family and community deserves: quality jobs, better schools and safer neighborhoods. The basics we need to get California working again.