Meet Connie Leyva

Empowering workers in San Bernardino County to reach the middle class

When Connie Leyva’s parents moved back to San Bernardino County from Kansas in 1970, our state worked. We had quality schools, affordable
colleges and universities, and a stronger commitment to making the economy more fair for everyone.

As our state Senator, Connie has worked to strengthen our middle class again, with improved educational opportunities and good-paying jobs that provide every family and community with the chance to prosper.

Connie learned the virtues of loyalty and hard work from her parents. Her mother Christine was a classroom instructional aide in local public schools and her father James was a clerk at the Alpha Beta grocery store. Together, they earned fair wages and benefits that allowed them to save up for a modest home in Chino and raise a family. 

As a senior in high school, Connie got a job at the Alpha Beta market where her father worked. There she would meet a young clerk named Albert, now her husband of nearly three decades. To create more opportunities for their family, Connie began taking college courses at the University of Redlands after work.  

Just as Connie was finishing her degree and about to have twins, a corporate takeover of the local grocery market left her without a job. She and her husband buckled down and got through those tough times. Later, Connie went to work at her union, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1428. She initially split her time working in the benefits department and cleaning the building. She worked her way up to become a union representative and empowered workers to have a stronger voice on the job and in our neighborhoods.

Connie quickly gained the respect of her peers and was elected president of the union. She united communities and union members to fight back against corporate attempts to take affordable health care away from grocery workers who were forced to go on strike. Connie’s commitment to workers and the needs of her community earned her statewide acclaim, and in 2004, she was elected as the first woman to be president of the California State Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, representing more than 2.1 million workers throughout the state.

As our state Senator, Connie has continued to help working families in San Bernardino County get ahead by passing legislation to:

  • Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour
  • Mandate pay equity in the workplace
  • Increase access to career technical training
  • Make the first year of community college free
  • Create good-paying clean energy jobs
  • Build more affordable housing

She’s also led on strengthening the voice of women on the job and in our communities. Connie has passed laws removing limitations on prosecuting rape and mandating pay equity in the workplace. She led efforts to ban secret settlements in sexual assault cases and ensure that students at our University of California and California State University campuses have safe access to reproductive health services.

Connie still lives in Chino with Al. Their adult daughters, Allie and Jessie, have graduated college and started careers and families of their own. Connie is running for San Bernardino County Supervisor so she can continue fighting for the things that every family and community deserves: quality jobs, better schools and safer neighborhoods. She believes if we all work together, we can ensure everyone in San Bernardino County has a fair chance of reaching the middle class.


Supporters of Connie Leyva can access additional high resolution photos here.