Melissa Ramoso will be only woman on city’s November 6th ballot

Filing her papers last week, Filipina-American Melissa Ramoso joins the race for Artesia City Council as the only woman to be on the November 6th ballot.

Among Ramoso’s top priorities are to make City Hall more accessible to its residents, improve the quality of life for all of its neighborhoods, and strengthen Artesia’s local economy.

Located in southeast Los Angeles County as one of the county’s Gateway Cities, Artesia is home to a number of different ethnic enclaves including those of the Portuguese and Dutch who settled into the area in the early 1920s and 1930s.  

The burgeoning South Asian community can be seen along Pioneer Boulevard which marks the largest Indian enclave in southern California.  Then there’s, of course, the Filipino community, which makes up a majority of Artesia’s Asian population.

“I love the hometown feel that it has and the people and pride that many of residents show and express,” Ramoso told the Asian Journal in a recent interview..  “I want to keep that spirit, in addition to making the city grow and be innovative as our families grow as well.”

Born in neighboring Downey, Ramoso has long been a local to the area, having received her education at the ABC Unified School District’s Richard Gahr High School before attending the University of California, Irvine.

Of her favorite things about Artesia, Ramoso recalled it being where she first experienced a strong sense of community that was brought forth by culturally diverse businesses, including those Filipino-owned.

“Goldilocks first opened its doors in Artesia, not too far from where I currently live,” Ramoso said.  “They’re in Cerritos now, but it was where I knew I felt like I was home and was experiencing my culture.”

On why she decided to enter public service, Ramoso said her passion comes from her immigrant family.

“It first started with my grandfather,” she said, sharing that he enjoyed talking about American politics and how important it was to vote.  Her retired registered nurse mother, and U.S. Army veteran and retired postal worker father, both also were of big influence, she added.

“When I grew up and was able to register to vote, my whole family would all go vote together — my lolo and lola, my mom, my dad, and my sister.  Just the whole voting process itself was how I got involved,” said Ramoso. 

Currently working for the California State Assembly as district director to Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, Ramoso has achieved 14 years of government work representing federal and state legislatures in serving their constituents.  

Being the only woman on the upcoming November 6th ballot, Ramoso said that while it wasn’t a deciding factor, it was something she saw as an encouragement to take another shot at city council.  The first time she ran in 2013, she was the youngest Fil-Am to run for office in the whole State of California.

“I feel incredibly empowered and also sad at the same time that no other women wanted to step up and be at the table,” expressed Ramoso.

Currently, Artesia has one woman on the council being Mayor Sally Flowers.  Without Ramoso, it would be all men on the council.

“That’s not representative of the community and the government,” shared Ramoso.

To the Fil-Am community, Ramoso encouraged them to be a part of the government process simply by getting engaged with their communities.

“Learn about who is representing you because they can also change your neighborhood and your lifestyle,” said Ramoso.  “It’s important to engage yourself with your local government, and in all levels of government.”

Encouraging other Fil-Ams to consider running for positions, she added, “It shouldn’t stop with me and other folks. There is definitely a line of leaders that we’re looking forward to in the future.”

Among Ramoso’s endorsers are Artesia Councilmember Miguel Canales, Cerritos Mayor Mark Pulido, Cerritos Councilmember Frank Aurelio Yokoyama, Cerritos Planning Commissioner Tatiana Yokoyama, former Cerritos Planning Commissioner Becky Lingad, and Cerritos Fine Arts and Historical Commissioner Nora Benzon. (Rae Ann Varona/AJPress)

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