WATSONVILLE — Watsonville City Councilwoman Trina Coffman-Gomez on Friday announced her plans to run for the 30th District seat on the California State Assembly.
She made the announcement on the top floor of Watsonville City Plaza, joined by a dozen supporters.
“I’ve known Trina for 20 years,” said Harry Wiggins. “She’s very community-oriented, and she worked her way through college. She’s very bright.”
Clarice Wiggins agreed.
“She always does what she commits to,” she said. “You can count on her.”
If elected, Coffman-Gomez said she would be the first woman from Santa Cruz County to hold the position.
While the official filing period does not begin until Feb. 12, filing a “statement of intention to run” allows Coffman-Gomez to form a finance committee.
To date, Democrats Karina Cervantez Alejo, Peter Leroe-Munoz and John Nevill have filed their statements to run for the 30th District seat, as have Republicans Neil Kitchens and Andrew Russo.
Coffman-Gomez would replace Anna Caballero, who is currently completing her final term.
She served on the Watsonville planning commission and the personnel commission before being elected in November 2012, an election in which she ran uncontested.
She beat Doreen Martinez in the November 2016 election by 19 votes.
Now in the midst of her second term on the city council, Coffman-Gomez said that advancing to a state office would allow her to continue the life of public service she said began with her family.
“I have been raised to give back to the community, and this is a way I can do that,” she said.
Coffman-Gomez is also a member of Freedom Rotary, Monterey Bay Community Power, Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, the Santa Cruz Local Agency Formation Commission, Pajaro Valley Arts Council, Pajaro Valley Health Trust and The Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County.
As a city council member, Coffman-Gomez said she helped the city retool its on economic development strategies, which were in limbo statewide after Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011 eliminated California’s 380 redevelopment agencies in a budget-cutting move.
She also worked with the city on developing cannabis policy, which is a major issue as the state prepares for retail sales of recreational marijuana on Jan. 2.
If elected, Coffman-Gomez said she would be a “voice of reason” for her constituents.
“I will bring up there with me creative ways to affect policy, so that we can get funding to improve the lives of all our residents in our region and to make our community vibrant,” she said.
Coffman-Gomez said her father worked in the lettuce industry for 28 years, which she said gives her an understanding of the industry that drives Watsonville and a drive to protect agricultural resources.
“They know I understand what it’s like to work hard,” she said. “I know they rely on agriculture for their jobs and housing and the challenges they face.”
Coffman-Gomez also said she would work to bring financial resources to her district to help repair the ailing roadways, which include highways 101, 25 and 1.
“We all know that they are parking lots, and we all know there are also a lot more local streets that need help and resources, so I will continue to work on our transportation challenges,” she said.
Coffman-Gomez owns Integrity Lending on Airport Boulevard, a career she said gives her a knowledge of housing and healthcare that will help her as an Assemblywoman.
“My knowledge will prove to be beneficial to tackle these current challenges for you, so we can create effective legislation,” she said.
Coffman-Gomez was born and raised in Watsonville. As a Watsonville High School graduate, she organized the school’s sober graduation night party for 10 years.
She also served on the board of the alumni association at CSU Monterey Bay, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business.