INDIO – Coachella Valley GOP leaders describe her as the “brightest star in Republican Party.” With that, América Figueroa, a Mexican immigrant, has confirmed for Uken Report that she will challenge Democratic Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia in November 2020 for the 56th Assembly District seat.

California’s 56th Assembly District includes cities and unincorporated communities in eastern Riverside County and Imperial County, including Blythe, Brawley, Bermuda Dunes, Calexico, Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, El Centro, Holtville, Imperial, Indio, Mecca, Oasis, North Shore, Salton Sea, Thermal, Thousand Palms, and Westmorland.

Garcia was first elected in 2014 and will seek re-election in 2020, despite idle speculation to the contrary. It will be his fourth, two-year term.

“I am convinced we are where we need to be,” Garcia told Uken Report. “We’re staying put. We are in the right place.”

The California State Assembly has 80 Members elected to two-year terms. Under the provisions of term limits, each member elected on or after the passage of Proposition 28, in 2012, may serve a lifetime maximum of 12 years in the State Legislature.

Figueroa, 44, was born and raised in Mexicali, B.C. México and moved to California in the 1980s. She has lived in Indio since 1988.

“I am concerned about the future of our children and the families of our state,” Figueroa told Uken Report. California legislators continue to propose laws limiting our options as parents. What has been happening in my state during the last few years is dangerous and harmful to children, families, and people of faith. I refuse to sit down and do nothing.”

Figueroa is the married mother of five children ages 9 to 24, three of whom live at home. She is also a grandmother of one.

The impetus for Figueroa mounting a campaign is due in part to the California Healthy Youth Act (AB 329).

The California Healthy Youth Act, which took effect in January 2016, requires school districts throughout the state to provide students with comprehensive sexual health education, along with information about HIV prevention, at least once in high school and once in middle school.

The state legislation also allows districts to offer age-appropriate sexual health education in earlier grades if they choose to do so. But parents can opt out of comprehensive sexual health education, and local districts choose which curriculum and instructional resources (including textbooks and worksheets) they will use to teach comprehensive sexual health education to their students.

She opposes it; Garcia supported it. Figueroa said she asked Garcia for help but he allegedly told her he was OK with it. Garcia has said repeatedly that the bill allows parents to opt out of sex education class.

“I went to him for help three times and he didn’t help me,” Figueroa said.

Garcia said he knows her through the “anti-LGBTQ movement as it relates to teaching sex ed in classrooms. He said he met her once and had a “hunch” her concerns were more for “political posturing” than anything else.

He also said she is closely tied to La Prensa Hispana, a bilingual newspaper, which Garcia said is a GOP-leaning newspaper.

Figueroa is a columnist for La Prensa Hispana.

When she tried to opt her children out of the class at Desert Sands Unified School District, it failed, Figueroa said, so she pulled her children out of the school district.

Desert Sands officials would not comment on Figeruoa’s specific allegation.

“DSUSD works in partnership with our families and respects the rights of parents/guardians to supervise their children’s education on these subjects,” Marcus Wood, Ed.D., Senior Director of Secondary Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, wrote in a an email. “State law allows you to remove your student from all or part of sexual health and HIV prevention education. If you do not want your student to participate in comprehensive sexual health or HIV prevention education, please submit a written request to your child’s school principal.”

Full detail on the curriculum, frequently asked questions, and additional resources is available by clicking here. Options for opting out are explained in the January 2019 Parent Information Meeting Slideshow. You may access it by clicking here.

During the past year, Figueroa said she has been educating parents about AB 329 and the harmful effects of Comprehensive Sexuality Education. As a former leader of Informed Parents of California, she has organized carpools and buses to Sacramento for rallies at the State Capitol and public testimony before the California Department of Education. She also led a statewide SeXXX Ed sit-out that involved 49 counties.

Figueroa currently serve as the executive director for Alliance To Protect Children, a statewide grassroots organization advocating and defending the innocence of our children, and dedicated to inform, educate, and activate parents, community and taxpayers on issues that impact our children’s health, safety, and education.

For more than 20 years she has taught and supported “at-risk” children from schools throughout the Coachella Valley; as a preschool teacher for several private schools, and as a substitute for her local school district.

​​Figueroa said she also running to stop the exodus of people leaving the state because of the “extreme taxation.” Small businesses, including a family member’s business, can’t afford to do business anymore let alone hire any employees, and that needs to stop, she said.

“I feel it is my responsibility as a citizen to try to do something,” she said.

 

 

 

 

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  • America Figueroa: America Figueroa