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Let's Restore the California Dream
A LIFE OF OBSTACLES BREEDS DETERMINATION & RESILIENCEOut of a young life of hardship, determination is born. Out of determination comes effectiveness. Anamarie Avila Farias is the proud granddaughter of Mexican immigrants from Taltenango, Zacatecas Mexico. Her grandfather immigrated to this country under the famed “Bracero Program” in the 1950’s. She has lived the quintessential immigrant experience. The story of the bracero is rooted in hope and longing for a better life in America. Her family’s journey is a testament of the enduring contributions that Mexican Americans have made to American life. Her grandfather told her his stories of being exploited, working in racially-charged environments – and how many braceros he knew faced inexcusable atrocities committed against immigrants from Mexico. When she was 3, Anamarie’s father passed away. She and her three siblings were raised by a single mother and faced many socioeconomic barriers, inequities, and struggles. Those hardships endured by her single mother raising four children shaped Anamarie’s lifelong career in public service and her determination to help others struggling with housing insecurity, childcare, limited resources, and low income.Today her story continues in the households of 30% of California’s adults working hard to raise children as single parents, living in poverty, determined to make ends meet. She is no stranger to these struggles and understands poverty from various lenses – her own childhood experiences color her passion, leadership and public policy advocacy.
GROUNDBREAKING LEADERSHIPA lifelong, third-generation Contra Costa County resident, Anamarie’s life experience has led her to devote herself to public service, including public policy work in government and non-profit organizations focused on helping people escape poverty through affordable housing, economic development, workforce training and support for at-risk populations. She is committed to creating greater economic opportunity for all kinds of families while breaking down the barriers, myths, personal attacks, and stereotypes – especially those that affect women. In 2012, she was the first Latina to be elected to the Martinez City Council, and in 2020 she was elected to the Contra Costa County Board of Education where she serves as one of only two Latinas elected to a state or county position in Contra Costa. She also chaired and served on the Martinez Planning Commission for nearly a decade and served on the Parks & Recreation and Marina Commission for 5-years. In 2015, Anamarie was appointed by former Governor Brown to the Board of Directors of the California Housing Finance Agency. CalHFA addresses the needs of low- and moderate-income renters and homebuyers by providing financing and programs with a focus on equity. Her leadership in creating The Building Black Wealth campaign, CalHFA's initiative to increase Black homeownership in California, is one of the many programs Anamarie is proud of. In addition, the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Grant provides up to $40,000 towards pre-development and non-reoccurring closing costs associated with the construction of the ADU, creating multigeneration housing opportunities. Anamarie was re-appointed to the California Housing Finance Agency Board in 2021 by Governor Newsom.
A PROVEN TRACK RECORDThroughout her career, Anamarie has tackled some of California’s most difficult challenges. She developed the first LEED-certified Green Housing development in Contra Costa County. The project was an example of infill development, pollution prevention, and environmental remediation that embraces sustainable reuse initiatives. Her work helped prove that poisonous brownfields can be transformed from environmental threats to environmental saviors. Anamarie has been a fierce advocate for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to promote multi-generational affordable housing opportunities for all families. During her time on the Martinez City Council, she created the city’s first ADU program that has jump started development of many units of affordable housing. Through her leadership role on the County Board of Education, Anamarie established a partnership with the Construction Trades Workforce Initiative to create a pre-apprenticeship program that allows at-risk and incarcerated youth to acquire the skills needed to enter a Building Trades apprenticeship program as well as obtain life skills to prepare them for re-entry into the community.
TACKLING THE TOUGHEST PROBLEMSAs an adolescent in her hometown, Anamarie volunteered at the Martinez Police Department, County Hospital and Housing agency, beginning a lifelong commitment to community service. She reached a wider impact at the city, county, and state levels, serving as a City Commissioner, taking on leadership roles in the PTA in her school community which ultimately led her to run for public office. Anamarie is currently on the Board of Directors of the non-profit Juvenile Hall Auxiliary of Contra Costa County where she has spent a decade improving the Juvenile Justice system to give formerly incarcerated youth a second chance to dream and embrace a better future. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Carquinez Regional Environmental Education Center (CREEC) which provides stipends for youth to learn about environmental science while working to restore natural habitats in the Carquinez Straits. Anamarie is a former member of the League of California Cities, where she served in three different leadership roles as 2nd Vice President of East Bay Division, Housing Community and Economic Development Policy Committee Member, and a Board Member for the Latino Caucus. She is active in the California Democratic Party and is an elected Democratic County Central Committee District 5 representative and Assembly District 15 delegate, and former 1st Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County (DPCCC). She has also served on the California Democratic Party Legislative Committee.
EDUCATION AND FAMILY LIFEAnamarie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and a Master of Science in Information Systems Management from the University of San Francisco, becoming one of the first in her family to graduate from college and earn an advanced degree. She is proudly raising her two young children in her hometown Martinez in Contra Costa County with her husband, an Architect who graduated from UC Berkeley and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and practices in the field of higher education as a Vice President at a local University. She and her husband are actively engaged and involved in the school and greater community.Anamarie and her husband love to travel with their children, believing travel builds stronger family relationships and is a wonderful opportunity to educate, ignite curiosity and sense of adventure in their children.
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