Senator Abel Maldonado is the oldest son of immigrant field workers. Like many other immigrants, his father came to this country with little more than the shirt on his back. Abel's father believed that through hard work, his family could share the American Dream. As a child, Abel worked in the fields picking strawberries alongside his father to help support the family. The Maldonado family is a family of sacrifice, saving, planning, and investing for the future. After graduating from Santa Maria High School, Abel attended CSU Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, where he majored in Crop Science. Maldonado took the ideas he learned in college back to the small family farm. Because of his family's dedication and commitment to hard work, Abel Maldonado has seen that small farm grow from a half acre of strawberries into a farm that now works over 6,000 acres and employs over 250 people and ships produce all over the world.
Abel first ran for office because in 1994, the family farm applied for a building permit to erect a new 35,000 square foot cooling facility. After months of wading through the city's bureaucracy, he grew disillusioned with the lack of customer service that government had provided him, and he decided to run for City Council. So at the age of 26 Abel ran and was elected to the Santa Maria City Council. Two years later, he was elected Mayor by defeating the incumbent and a former Mayor. After guiding the city out of a financial crisis, Maldonado took his leadership style to Sacramento for the first time in 1998 when he was elected to the State Assembly. In the State Assembly, he made a commitment to his constituents to represent them to the best of his ability. He did so by priding himself on serving their needs before anything else. During his Assembly tenure Abel was named Hero of the Taxpayer by the Americans for Tax Reform, led the charge to see seat belts in school busses, worked with Gov. Schwarzenegger to reform the antiquated California Workers Compensation System and worked to enact legislation to raise academic performance in our schools just to name a few of his many accomplishments.more » « less