Carmen Ramirez | Candidate for Oxnard City Council

By Peter K. Godinez, Community Ambassador for Xerox Corporation

Neighborhood/voting district: District 2 / Oxnard City Council

carmen4oxnard@gmail.com

carmen4oxnard.com

http://www.facebook.com/carmen.ramirez

https://www.linkedin.com/in/m-carmen-ramirez-b866379/

 

MARIA CARMEN RAMIREZ, (known as Carmen) is a public interest lawyer who has served the community since she was admitted to practice in December of 1974, graduated from Loyola School of Law, Los Angeles in May 1974. She was elected to a second four-year term on the Oxnard City Council in November 2014. 

She is proud and grateful to serve Oxnard, which is the 19th largest city in California with a population of over 200,000 persons.

She also maintains a private legal practice in the City of Oxnard, focusing on consumer matters and Social Security Disability cases.

Raised in the City of Pico Rivera in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County, Carmen Ramirez is one of seven siblings. Ms. Ramirez has lived in Ventura County since 1978 and resides in Oxnard. She speaks, reads and writes Spanish fluently and has traveled extensively in Latin America. 

Carmen Ramirez video interview by Peter Godinez

Committees

As a member of the Oxnard City Council, she serves on the city’s Transportation Policy Committee, Homeless Committee, Oxnard Performing Arts and Convention Center Board of Directors, and the Cultural Arts Committee.

She was also appointed to serve on the Ventura County Animal Regulation Commission, Local Agency Formation Commission and the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District. She represents the City of Oxnard on the Clean Power Alliance, serving both Los Angeles and Ventura Counties and many of their cities, which will provide renewal sources of power to residential and commercial customers. where she is currently the vice-chair. Additionally she is on the executive committee of the Southern California Association of Governments, a regional planning organization focused on improving transportation across the region.

In 2017, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. re-appointed her to a second four-year term as a member of the State Commission on Mandates and the California State Senate confirmed her appointment in March 2018.

As Executive Director of Channel Counties Legal Services

From 1975 until 1998, Ms. Ramirez worked in legal aid programs in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. For 16 years she was Executive Director of Channel Counties Legal Services Association, based in Oxnard that served the legal needs of the poor of both counties. Her responsibilities included overseeing litigation, financial planning, grant management, fundraising, personnel matters, board, community, government, and labor-management relations. Ms. Ramirez has represented hundreds of clients in cases involving education, housing, consumer rights, employment, and government benefits such as Social Security Disability. 

Professional Accomplishments

In June 2005, she was elected to the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California for a three-year term, representing the attorneys of five counties, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. She has served on the statewide Executive Committee of the Bench Bar Coalition, which promotes the needs of the public to access to justice as well as the budgetary needs of the California judicial system before the California legislature.

In 1998, Ms. Ramirez served as President of the Ventura County Bar Association and remains active in the Lawyers’ Referral and Information Service Committee. 

Actively Involved In the Community

Ms. Ramirez is active in Oxnard and greater Ventura County communities, including as a past board member of the Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF), a current trustee of the Colleges of Law for Santa Barbara and Ventura County, the past president of the bilingual Ventura County theater company, Teatro de Las Américas and current board member of the Center for Civic Education, a national program, headquartered in Calabasas, California. 

In past years, she served as president of El Concilio Del Condado De Ventura County, the Ventura County Women Lawyers’ Association, Ventura County Mexican American Bar Association, and Studio Channel Islands Art Center in Camarillo. 

Award and Recognitions

Ms. Ramirez has been honored by numerous awards, including the Ben E. Nordman Public Service Award of the Ventura County Bar Association, the Ventura Chapter of Rotary’s Paul Harris Award, and the El Concilio del Condado de Ventura Community Service Award, the Human Rights Award of the Baha’i of Ventura. 

She was named Woman of the Year for the 35th Assembly District in 2003 by Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson and in 2009 as Senator Fran Pavley’s Woman of the Year for California Senate District 23. On March 27, 2012, she received recognition for Women’s Leadership from the Multicultural Programs of California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo. In May 2010, she received the “Exemplary Service in the Promotion of Literacy” by the Ventura County Council of the International Reading Association.

Previous Employment

From 1998 to 2007, she coordinated the Ventura Superior Court’s Self-Help Legal Access Center, located in the Colonia area of Oxnard, serving primarily the Spanish-speaking community. From 2008 until July 2009, she was the Community Planning Director for Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, which worked on community issues involving environmental, economic and social justice in Ventura County.

Family:   She has lived and worked in Ventura County since 1978 and has been an Oxnard homeowner since 1992. She and her husband Roy live in the “woods” section of Oxnard. She has two-step sons, two dogs, four cats, enjoys gardening, reading, visiting with family and traveling. In spite of her love of traveling, she has never missed a single council meeting in 8 years. She believes that Oxnard is the best place to live in Southern California for its people, diverse cultures, climate and opportunities

Why are you running?
 I am running for re-election to continue working on making Oxnard a safer, cleaner, more modern, and more healthy city.   I’ve accomplished a lot along with my colleagues, despite difficult circumstances, due to internal factors as well as external.
What do you plan to accomplish?
I am focusing on three things:  
  1. Continue efforts to have better outcomes for our young people in Oxnard, in terms of recreation, educational opportunities that the city can support, an end to youth violence and substance abuse,
  2. Continue efforts to clean and restore our Oxnard coast, including the economic benefits to our city from the Restoration of Ormond Beach; the move to Clean Power Alliance to provide cheaper and cleaner energy for our homes and businesses, and working to do Oxnard’s part in meeting the State’s goals for a cleaner economy
  3.  Creation of a thriving downtown with housing, retail and restaurant businesses that will come and be successful as we have the right opportunities now and must take advantage of them. All of these things take cooperation with my colleagues, current and future. 

 

Why do you think you are qualified to do this? 
I have demonstrated leadership and ability to work with the community, my fellow elected officials and Oxnard staff.  I am a lawyer with decades of experience in law, community advocacy and knowing my community. 
What relevant skills/experience do you have?  I have legal skills, organizational skills and 8 years of council experience.  I am also one of seven siblings and I have learned to share, care and get along. 
Have you held office or run before? Please explain what when, where?
Yes, I have two terms at City Council and have been elected in the past to represent all the lawyers of five counties, including Ventura County  at the California State Bar of California.
What are the most important issues and where do you stand on them?
The most important issue for our city and every city is financial stability so that the city has the resources to provide the essential services of public safety and security, infrastructure such as clean water and clean environment.   Our city must encourage businesses to come to Oxnard and once here to stay as long as they are providing decent wages and conditions for our residents. Our city must become more modern to take advantage of technological advances to get and keep businesses that will provide better jobs for our residents so that they can enjoy prosperity and a better life.   As a coastal city we must be alert to the changes that will come to our coastline and the businesses, homes and infrastructure that are there due to climate change.   We must be prepared for the earthquake that is predicted for our region in order to save lives, our homes and businesses. 

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Peter K. Godinez is a longtime document management professional in the information services industry, as well as a Citizen of Oxnard who desires to see this community thrive to the best of its abilities and potential.

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/petergodinez

Peter K. Godinez
Education & Public Sector Account Executive
GodinezVote
pgodinez@socal-xerox.com
Cell: (818) 430-6945

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