By Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, 23rd Senate District
While the Legislature has been on recess these past few months, I’ve enjoyed getting to focus on one of my favorite parts of the job – serving the people of Senate District 23. I love meeting the people and organizations who do so much for all the diverse communities in our district. It’s inspiring and builds my optimism and hope about the future of the Inland Empire.
Although it’s difficult to narrow down, I’d like to share a few of the notable organizations and people I’ve had the privilege of getting to know and recognize in my first year in office:
Dr. Cherina Betters, who I nominated as SD 23 Woman of the Year for 2021. Dr. Betters is the chief of equity and access for the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, and she has been a tireless champion for children, devoting her career to ensuring students have access to an empowering education regardless of their background or circumstance.
The Inland Empire Ronald McDonald House, which I nominated for SD 23 Nonprofit of the Year for 2021. It has provided support and care to over 18,000 families receiving local medical treatments during its 25 years of operation, treating every family with equal measures of compassion and respect as they go through a very stressful period.
Robert Ybarra, owner of Precision Material Handling, my nominee for SD 23 Small Business of the Year for 2021. During the pandemic, Robert not only decided he wouldn’t lay off employees, he hired more, even though the company was financially struggling itself. Moreover, he organized over 25 food drives in his community, feeding over 300 families each time. Robert looks beyond profit and makes a conscious effort to prioritize the wellbeing of his employees and the community.
These people and organizations are just a few examples of what makes the Inland Empire such a blessed place to live and makes me so proud to represent this district.
And I’d be remiss not to share a few more notable organizations, ones I will be spending some time and partnering with this holiday season.
I will be hosting an open house in the new district office, located at 1758 Orange Tree Lane, Suite B, Redlands, CA, on December 16th, from 5:30 – 7:30pm, and I am asking attendees to please bring diapers and/or laundry detergent pods, which will be donated to Santa Clause Inc. This nonprofit works year round to provide essential needs for underserved children, including shoes, clothing, toys and personal care items.
I’ve also worked with AT&T to secure a donation for the Big Bear Soroptimist Club, which is the lead nonprofit for a community-wide toy drive and giveaway in the Big Bear area. I will be participating in the Sistas Making a Difference toy drive for the San Bernardino community, the Holiday Wish toy giveaway in Banning, the Christmas Wish toy giveaway in Beaumont, and the Highlanders Boxing Club toy giveaway in Highland.
Another great aspect of being back in the district full time has been getting to spend more time with my family. My family and faith ground me. Family, in my opinion, is the most precious foundational unit in our communities. I will continue to advocate for the empowerment and protection of our families. Stronger families mean healthier environments for our children to grow and flourish in and in turn, creates healthier communities. It all starts in the home.
Finally, Christmas is traditionally a time of reflection, giving, gratitude and hope. I will be spending some time reflecting on how incredibly blessed I am. Blessed to be a wife and a mother of three beautiful kids. Blessed that my family and I are healthy. And blessed that you put your faith in me to represent you. I look forward to 2022 as another wonderful year of serving you, the people of Senate District 23.