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Magdalena graduated from Independence High School here in San Jose and has worked for this community for decades. Growing up the child of immigrant parents, Magdalena learned the value of hard work and community service at a young age, a value that has propelled her to serve families, children and this community her entire life.

Magdalena was the first in her family to finish high school, from there she went to UC Santa Barbara to pursue her degree in Chicano Studies. Magdalena worked her way through college as a caregiver at a home for youths transitioning between juvenile hall to the adult world. She taught them life skills, conflict resolution, anger management and how to respect themselves and their communities.

After college, Magdalena came home to serve her community. Her passion for improving the quality of life for children and families led Magdalena to a ten-year career with the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children Services. There, she served as a powerful advocate and spokesperson for the Foster Care and Adoptions Program.

Magdalena also served as a Family and Child Advocate with First 5 Santa Clara. At First 5, Magdalena has had firsthand experience with families and children in difficult home situations and has seen the profound ways violence impacts our community. In her role as a community advocate, Magdalena helps rehabilitate perpetrators of violence and helps their families get the help they need to get back on their feet.

As a mother, she puts her children’s needs first and foremost. She has been an active parent and volunteer in Alum Rock Union Elementary School District, where her children have been students for years. She is a Parent Coordinator in her childrens’ classrooms and an active volunteer in the community and church-based activities.

Magdalena is committed to her advocacy work with the First 5 Commission, her role as a mother to her four children, her volunteer work at her children’s schools. But fighting for families, for children, for seniors, serving our community, that has always been her life plan. 

Since taking office she has championed issues as Affordable Housing, Wage Theft, Rent Control, and Minimum Wage. She has brought endless energy to the abatement of illegal dumping and graffiti hosting countless of community clean-ups with more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service for these East Side projects. This summer, she hosted a National Night Out event where 3,500 residents came out to enjoy an evening of zip lining, BBQ, meeting their local police officers, and other fun activities. Also, 1,000 students walked away with a backpack full of school supplies.

In January of this year, Mayor Sam Liccardo appointed her Vice Mayor of the City of San José, the first Councilmember from East San José in over 30 years.