If she wins the November 3 election, she would become the first Afro-Latino woman to serve on the city council.
“I am the first Afro-Latina to run for the Montebello Municipal Council,” Joella Valdez told La Opinion, but immediately rectified that “in fact, I am the first Afro-Latina to seek an elected position in Montebello.”
Entrepreneur, consultant, mother of a family, Valdez wants to “actively represent the communities of color in Montebello”, where the majority of the population is Latino immigrant, “and of course to represent women”.
Their history of immigrant descent mirrors the stories of most of the Montebello community.
Her maternal grandmother was the first to leave Central America to come to Los Angeles to work. He spoke English from his native Belize. Eventually, the grandmother brought the aspiring councilor’s mother to California, and her father later arrived, when she was just 16 years old.
Joella Valdez was born in Los Angeles but for more than two decades she moved with her family to Montebello; She is Afro-Latin and Eastern Angelina.
She reflects that she is running “at the most difficult moment in recent history due to the political climate in our country,” and she feels strongly motivated to serve and represent the community.
“For the last 15 years, I have worked in government affairs, in the areas of infrastructure construction, economic growth and social development” and this is part of what she offers the Montebello community as a potential official.
Joella Valdez studied and graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) as a professional, she was hired first in Madrid, Spain, and then in Santiago de Chile in her specialty.
During that decade and a half in which she worked for foreign governments, her family and friends invited her to “do the same to help my own community.”
Those requests were effective and “for the past three to four years I have been an advocate for my neighborhood” in Montebello, she said proudly.
Based on his experience, he focuses on specific plans that help the community, such as the ACE Project, or the Alameda Corredor East Project, which is an overpass that will alleviate traffic congestion and railway noise pollution.
“As a Montebello resident, I want this project to be done well, for the benefit of the community,” he explained.
Projects like that, he believes, are important “if we want to make Montebello a more attractive investment destination.
He thinks that the experience of the neighboring city can be an example that applies to Montebello for the economic development that is needed today.
“There was a time when our neighbors, in Pico Rivera, were in trouble and Montebello was progressing, but now it seems to be the case. If you drive down Whittier Boulevard you see a lot of empty stores, ”he lamented.
For his experience in economic development and infrastructure, he noted that in 2016 Pico Rivera was recognized “as the most business-friendly city, and they did so under the leadership of the then city administrator, René Bobadilla.”
And it happens that “now René Bobadilla is the administrator of the city of Montebello,” he commented, so there is a key official to promote the city.
“What as an elected official I would like to see is that we implement some of the measures that led to Pico Rivera’s success, see what worked, and try to implement those ideas in a way that works for Montebello,” Valdez stated.
A first measure would be “to reduce bureaucracy to make it easier for businesses to set up shop in Montebello.”
Mother of a little girl, the Afro-Latino candidate synthesized her electoral campaign platform in three points.
“At the national level we believe that an increase in salary is needed and that no human being is illegal, but that is national policy,” explained the applicant, “when it comes to Montebello I want some projects to be done well, to respond to the local aspirations and where I can apply my experience ”.
The first project is the ACE Corridor, because “it will improve traffic flow, it will improve emergency response and it will improve the safety with which we cross.”
It is the overpass so that vehicles do not have to cross the train tracks or try to gain their way.
Her platform also includes public safety, and in this Joella Valdez is the only candidate who supports the Montebello Police Officers Association.
And its third platform point is local economic development.