CA State Senate District 9 candidate questions: Marisol Rubio

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Mar. 1, 2024) — The Pioneer newspaper presented questions to the candidates running for California’s State Senate District 9 in the 2024 primary election.

For our story on all the candidates running in this race, click here. To read other candidate answers, click here.

Candidate: Marisol Rubio

What are your strengths or qualities that you bring to the position you’re seeking?

The distinct strengths and qualities that I bring to the State Senate include my intersectional personal, academic, professional, and elected experience that have prepared me to effectively address a wide array of issues, as well as my determination and perseverance to deliver on my promises.

As the daughter of an immigrant, single mother of three girls who went on to attain her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and myself as a single parent of a childhood brain cancer survivor with lifelong disabilities, who simultaneously worked and pursued a degree in Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in Neurobiology at the University of California, Berkeley, I understand the challenges faced by immigrants to this country, by single parents with competing demands, by people with disabilities, by woman of color, by long-term caregivers, and by people living with few social buffers and financial resources. And, because of this, I know firsthand how we can help people successfully navigate these difficult circumstances, because I have lived through them myself and succeeded.

When my infant daughter was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, doctors advised hospice care rather than treatment, but I challenged their “better” judgment and refused to give up on my daughter and proceeded to research various treatments, ultimately, choosing one that led to her recovery. Similarly, when my daughter’s school district advised her to not pursue a college degree, I refused to give up and worked with her individually 3-4 hours per day, 5-6 days per week. That is why, despite her learning disabilities, she is a college student at UC, Davis pursuing a double major in Psychology and Spanish.

But my advocacy did not end with my daughter and, as an educator and scientist, I continued to broaden the scope of my activism and helped start FemTruth YouthTM – a nonprofit focused on women’s reproductive health and education, as well as The Natalie Project – a protections advocacy fund for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

As a San Ramon City Councilwoman, where I won by over 64% of the vote, I delivered on my promise to create more workforce inclusionary affordable housing, to improve access to our community programs for low-income residents, people with disabilities, and seniors, and to champion climate initiatives. That’s why, under my leadership, San Ramon established its first ever Ad Hoc Climate Action Council, as well as a Climate Action Task Force that will inform our Climate Action Plan and help charter a prospective Sustainability Committee in San Ramon to ensure that our city is a regional climate leader.

I am running for State Senate because our district needs a tenacious, honest, and knowledgeable representative who will not give up and will always put the community’s interests first.

What are three main issues that you will prioritize if elected?

  • More inclusionary affordable housing for our workforce and for the unhoused.
  • Investing in a green infrastructure and transitioning to a green economy.
  • Making pre-k through college and health care, including mental health services, more affordable, accessible, and timely for those who need it.

How will you specifically address each of those issues?

1) Affordable Housing: We must further incentivize and work collaboratively with cities across California to invest in more truly affordable, inclusionary housing for the unhoused and for our workforce including teachers, frontline workers, and essential workers who kept us afloat during the pandemic. Helping the unhoused find permanent housing and employment through housing first initiatives and transitional housing with wraparound services that include job training, mental health and rehabilitative services, and nutritional support are essential to their long-term success. We must make sure that the state is helping to fund these efforts by supporting initiatives that drive revenues towards these efforts.

2) Investing in Infrastructure: Several California cities are facing severely aging infrastructure and, with that said, it is an opportune time to invest in establishing a green infrastructure and economy. While cities can look into bonds that will not sunset, the state can help offset these costs through additional grants stemming from the Infrastructure Bill and from the Inflation Reduction Act. We must also help workers in the fossil fuel industry transition to green jobs, which I have already been doing for the past several years as Co-Chair of a Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council Labor-Climate Task Force in collaboration with several Bay Area environmental groups and the UC, Berkeley Labor Center to lay the foundation for Just Transition. Workers in these industries will inevitably need apprenticeship programs and well-paying union jobs to be made available and I have been at the forefront of laying this foundation.

3) Education and Health Care: Addressing the social determinants of poverty and crime begins by making sure that pre-k through college and health care services, including mental health services, are affordable, accessible, and timely. It is important that all children, regardless of their zip code and family’s resources, have a strong educational foundation in preschool. We also want to make sure that the pursuit of higher education does not lead low-income or nontraditional students into lifelong debt and, therein, create transgenerational poverty. We must ensure that single parents have access to free before and after school programs, regardless of their child’s health status, so that they can be gainfully employed and ascertain higher education in order to be better able to financially support their families. Going to college should open doors, not shut them. Our seniors and people with disabilities must have access to safe, reliable transportation, access to timely, affordable health care, and the support of healthcare case managers to help them oversee their care and enable them to live independently. There are many ways that we can close the gap on socioeconomic and health outcomes and, as someone who has a background in public health and has lived through all of these challenges, I know exactly how to address these problems efficiently and effectively.

Why should you be elected?

I’m running for State Senate because this district deserves a champion for our shared values on affordable housing, reproductive rights, investment in public school funding, access to quality, affordable higher education and health care, and bold climate action.

My personal, academic, professional, volunteer, and political leadership experience are desperately needed in Sacramento and distinctly prepare me to serve all of our residents equitably. I’m the child of an immigrant, single parent of three girls who became a teacher for 30 years in a high-need school district. I’m also a San Ramon City Councilmember and former Vice President and Director of the Dublin San Ramon Services (water) District, a Home Health Care Provider, a former K-5 Bilingual Science Teacher and Original Research Mentor, a Sierra Club California and San Francisco Bay Chapter Executive Committee Member, a Director of Government Relations for the San Francisco Bay Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, and a parent of a child with lifelong disabilities.

I learned early in life to work hard for what I needed and, as a result, held my first job at age 12. As an advocate for my child living with lifelong disabilities and chronic illness, I learned a great deal about navigating government bureaucracies while helping my child survive childhood brain cancer and succeed in school despite her subsequent disabilities. These lessons have informed my public service as a community volunteer and elected official.

While Senator Glazer’s departure was unexpected, at this point in my life, it’s the State Senate where I can have the greatest impact on people’s lives; people who needed a champion on their side decades ago. My intersectional experience is direly needed in Sacramento to inform good policy on housing, education, disability and women’s rights, supporting small businesses, racial and social justice, and confronting climate change with real solutions that will revitalize our economy.

The choice in this race is clear.

I’m the ONLY candidate running who does not accept money from special interests that undermine the greater good of the community. And, at a time when abortion rights are under assault across the country, I’m the ONLY candidate who has been unwaveringly 100% pro-choice. In fact, I’m a Founding Advisory Board Member of a nonprofit that advocates for women’s reproductive health and education. By contrast, my opponent earned a “D” legislative scorecard from NARAL in 2022 and was named, “Hostile to Reproductive Freedom” and received a 66%-80% from Planned Parenthood in 2018, 2019, and 2022. That’s why I’m enthusiastically supported by the California Women’s List.

I’m the ONLY candidate who will defend the environment and make sure that our children and grandchildren will have a safe and habitable planet. I’m proud to not only serve on the Sierra Club California and San Francisco Bay Chapter Executive Board, but also on the State and National Leadership Council for Elected Officials to Protect America where I helped advance efforts to transition to clean, renewable energy, ensure water quality and reliability, advance climate action, support smart growth, and protect open spaces. In contrast, my opponent has consistently earned a failing legislative scorecard from the California Environmental Voters, Sierra Club, and the California Environmental Justice Alliance.

State Senate District 9 has an opportunity to elect a Senator that is knowledgeable, has integrity, and is a proven leader who believes that helping people is priority #1. With me as your State Senator, you can be confident that I will never back down from doing what’s in the best interest of our district.

To learn more about my campaign, please go to I hope to earn your endorsement and the voters’ support by March 5th. Thank you.

To read other candidate answers, click here.