I was first elected to represent the residents of BART’s Seventh District in November, 2012. Just 25 years old at the time, I was (and remain) the youngest person to ever be elected as a BART Director. I am also the first East Bay resident to be elected to represent District 7, the only BART district that spans the bay and represents portions of each of the three counties in BART’s jurisdictional area (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco).
I became fascinated with public transit systems as a youth when, during my travels, I regularly observed the stark differences in transit congestion/usage at different employment and housing centers of the region. I curiously wondered why these differences existed (i.e., what makes transit competitive or uncompetitive). It was obvious to me that it had to do with people making rational choices based on their assessment of the options available to them. But what variables relating to transportation and land-use made the difference and why? I passionately sought to answer this curiosity and have used that to inform my natural interests in transit advocacy and planning ever since!
Before being elected, I spent more than ten years as a transit advocate through proposal writing, attending and speaking at public meetings, and meeting with various elected officials and transit agency staff about transit issues that I found important. Some notable examples include my long-time participation in the BART to San Jose project and my spearheading the latest discussions about revisiting a BART extension in West Contra Costa County.
After receiving my Associate’s degree in Communication Studies from West Valley College, I transferred to Stanford University, where I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies. Shortly after, I went on to earn a Master of City Planning (MCP) degree with a Transportation Planning emphasis from the University of California, Berkeley.
So why did I choose to pursue a term as a BART Director…? Through my years as an advocate and student, I came to the realization that so many of the transportation and land-use planning decisions that I find important are politically-defined. While as a professional planner, I get to do research and analysis (which I enjoy doing!) relating to transportation and land-use, a lot of that research and analysis gets birthed and predicated on the political side of the coin, where the initiatives are born and the visionary planning takes place. And that’s the side I wanted to be on and where I felt I could make the best contribution to society. With BART being the region’s premiere inter-city transit service provider, it felt like the best setting for me to pursue this endeavor.
I live in the unincorporated West Contra Costa County community of El Sobrante and in my spare time enjoy nature and outdoor activities and can never get enough of some good music listening – particularly Old School R&B! Most especially, my critical nature influences my love to engage in in-depth and philosophical conversations; I’m ready for them just about any time, day or night!