A Filipina American community leader will serve as the mayor pro tem of Artesia, California for the coming year.
The Artesia City Council appointed Councilmember Melissa Ramoso as the city’s second-in-command during its virtual meeting on Monday, December 14, marking a series of firsts in the local leadership — as an Asian American and Pacific Islander and Filipina American woman and a millennial in the role.
Ramoso said she was “grateful and humbled” to be selected for the role by council colleagues.
“Being a Pinay in now an elevated position within my elected role means I need to make sure I am not the only one…I made sure that my family and my nieces and nephews were watching because I want them to know to dream big. A title is one thing, but what you do with it is another,” Ramoso told the Asian Journal in an email.
She will serve alongside Mayor Rene J. Trevino for a one-year term.
Artesia — a city in southeast Los Angeles County neighboring Cerritos and Norwalk — has a population of 16,758, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. About 17.9% of the population is of Filipino descent.
Among the current priorities the City Council will be faced with is managing the local response and economic impact of the ongoing pandemic.
Earlier this year, Ramoso initiated the council’s efforts to place moratoriums on rent and mortgage payments and an ordinance against price gouging.
“I plan on continuing my advocacy for the safety and well-being of our residents. To my knowledge, there have been no closures of small businesses in my city during this pandemic. I would like to keep it that way and have asked that any monies that we receive should be allocated back to our businesses. We have had no lay-offs of employees as well, so ensuring we have a balanced budget and finding ways to receive more revenue is at the top of my list,” Ramoso added.
Ramoso was elected to the council for a four-year term in 2018, becoming the city’s youngest councilmember. She had been the only woman serving on the council at the time until Monica Manalo was elected to the vacant seat this past November and was subsequently sworn in during Monday’s council meeting.
Prior to Ramoso’s election, Fil-Am Victor Manalo had served on the city council since 2007. He ran for re-election in 2018, but failed to make it to the top three.
Born in neighboring Downey, Ramoso has been a long-time Artesia resident and received her education from the ABC Unified School District’s Richard Gahr High School before going to the University of California, Irvine.
In a previous interview with the Asian Journal, the Pinay credited her family, who migrated from the Philippines, for her career in public service. Her late grandfather was a World War II veteran, while her mother is a retired registered nurse, and father a U.S. Army veteran and retired postal worker.
Outside of Artesia, Ramoso works as the district director to Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, who represents the state’s 66th assembly district, and serves as the state chair for the California Democratic Party’s Asian Pacific Islander Caucus.
While in-person events are shelved for now, Ramoso reminded constituents about her open-door policy.
“I plan to launch virtual coffees, ask that the city do virtual townhalls as well and continue to utilize social media. I have always stated my door is always open and have been accessible to all,” Ramoso said. (Christina M. Oriel / AJPress)