English learners now eligible for child care assistance

Source Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 273 by Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Solano, a priority bill for the California Legislative Women’s Caucus this year. The governor signed it during a public ceremony held at Women’s Empowerment in Downtown...

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Ceremony starts Anderson Springs project

By Tammy Murga | Source ANDERSON SPRINGS >> About 80 people gathered in Anderson Springs Saturday morning to mark the start of a recovery project by breaking ground on a new wastewater system and homes for the area. The celebration was co-hosted by Senator Mike...

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Local reps secure funding for farmworker housing

Source The California State Legislature approved the 2017-18 State Budget, with $250,000 included to support farmworker housing in Napa County. Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Solano, and Senator Bill Dodd, D-Solano, championed this funding proposal, which will...

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Aguiar-Curry Wins Assembly Seat

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | Source Winters Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry will represent the 4th Assembly District in the state Legislature for the next two years, having defeated Republican Charlie Schaupp in Tuesday’s general election. Aguiar-Curry had received 63.6...

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Aguiar-Curry Thankful For the Support

Source I am gratified and overwhelmed by the supporters across District 4 that came out to vote for me for Assembly on June 7th. I want to thank them and the many volunteers and individual donors who helped make our campaign possible. And I want to congratulate all my...

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St. Helena Star Endorses Cecilia Aguiar-Curry for Assembly

By the Editorial Board | Source Winters Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is an energetic, accomplished, down-to-earth candidate who would be an effective advocate for rural communities in the State Assembly. Aguiar-Curry, a Democrat, is competing with Republican Charlie...

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By Debra DeAngelo | Winters Express | Volume 132, #34

The real question about Cecila Aguiar-Curry’s run for a state assembly seat is: How did she ever find the time to do it? A glance at her appointment book shows very little white space, and the list of regional activities, boards and committees with which she is involved, as well as all her awards, might well be longer than one humble newspaper story can hold.

First and foremost, however, Cecilia (she will henceforth be referred to by first name only, celebrity-style like Madonna or Roseanne) is Winters’ mayor. And not just any old mayor — she’s the first woman to hold that title. Cecilia broke through that old barrier and kept right on going. She’s served as president for the Sacramento Valley Division of the League of California Cities, is the current chairman for the Yolo County Housing Commission and the county’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, and founded the City of Winters Hispanic Advisory Committee and the Winters Senior Citizens Foundation.

While serving as mayor, beyond her work in broadband, Cecilia was a key figure in bringing a Department of Social Services office to Winters, as well as serving on the city council that approved Winters’ economic development plans downtown, and a new hotel and senior housing development, and Pacific Gas & Electric gas pipeline training facility that will soon break ground. She has also developed relationships with the members of the Yoch DeHe tribe’s community services group, which contributed $600,000 to Winters schools to help provide access to modern technology for all students.

Cecilia was named Winters Citizen of the Year in 2015, a year in which she was recognized for her contribution to the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Designation and was given the California State Fair Champion of Technology Award. And, the year‘s not over yet.

Three things stand out on Cecilia’s resume: serving as a role model for strong female leadership throughout the region, striving to bring broadband technology to rural areas and being arguably the most vocal promoter of the Winters community ever (not counting those who own restaurants featuring delicious charred animal parts). If there were a Golden Pom Pom award for advocating for one’s own community, Cecilia would most certainly be named Head Cheerleader, and would take home the Energizer Bunny sash too. She just never stops and, more impressively, never complains about her multi-tasking schedule — her signature bright smile radiates enthusiasm about whatever she’s doing, wherever she is and whomever she’s with.

It’s one thing to be enthusiastic about other people and events, but Cecilia can turn that enthusiasm inward, where it becomes self-confidence — something she’s not shy about when explaining why she’s leapfrogging over a county supervisor seat and aiming straight for a state seat.

“I’m accomplished and collaborative, and I’m really confident that I can do it. It’s the year of the woman,” she says, adding, “And, I will win.”

She explains that she was contacted by a regional women’s political group, which felt that she has the right stuff to bring a female voice to state leadership — something that is sorely lacking, with men still outnumbering women by far.

“I was honored and humbled,” she says of that phone call but adds that although she was definitely interested in pursuing the idea, the prospect of financing a state campaign concerned her. She points out that running for office in Winters doesn’t cost much — a few lawn signs here, a few coffee get-togethers there, and you’re done. Running for a major political office is a completely different animal. To deal with the financing issue, Cecilia is now working with some campaign staff who will be arranging fundraisers and offering assistance, such as scheduling public appearances. (Good luck with that — her appointment book is packed.)

Another reason to bypass the county supervisor step is simply because it’s actually much more difficult for a Winters resident to win a county supervisor seat, following the redistricting several years back that split western Yolo County in half, essentially making it impossible for a Winters, Esparto or Capay Valley resident to win an election over a Woodland or Davis resident, who would have the lion’s share of constituents.

“You can never win,” she says of the Yolo County seat.

But the state seat — that’s doable. Cecilia will be running for Assembly District 4, currently held by Bill Dodd, who is pursuing a state senate seat. The 4th District includes all of Yolo County except West Sacramento, all of Lake and Napa Counties, and small portions of Solano, Sonoma and Colusa Counties. Cecilia isn’t intimidated in reaching across county lines to other neighboring counties because she says agriculture, business concerns and economic development link them all together.

That said, she notes that there’s a wide range of issues and wealth – or lack thereof – from county to county. Napa County, for example, is affluent largely due to its world-class wine industry, while she says Lake County is “poverty stricken” and more recently devastated by fire as well.

Regarding the fire, Cecilia says “Lake County has many challenges and this only exacerbates those challenges.

“First and foremost we need to make sure that federal and state monies get to the citizens without bureaucratic snafus, and that insurance companies help to restore peoples lives to some semblance of normal. The fire is just one of the challenges facing the citizens — just imagine when the rains arrive and how that will affect the area.”

Although the aftermath of the fire is front and center at the moment, there are other concerns throughout the district that Cecilia wants to address, starting with education — in particular, the availability of pre-kindergarten programs for all children as well as modern technology for all schools. She notes that technology improvements cross over into agriculture, particularly the use of innovative software, but emphasizes that agricultural technology is “all fine and good but if you don’t have an internet connection, you can’t use it.” She notes that some areas of the district still don’t have broadband or cable service, which leaves internet connection either poor or non-existent.

“There should be internet access for all at a reasonable price,” she says, and predicts that broadband coverage “will be a huge conversation” for families in rural areas.

She adds that she’s particularly proud of her efforts to improve broadband access in rural areas — this put Yolo County ahead of other counties that still haven’t caught up. The first step for District 4, she says, will be to start with a feasibility study for broadband service, just as she did in Yolo County.

Ever keeping in mind the rural residents of District 4, Cecilia says distance learning and education will be a topic of discussion, and also job development and access to healthcare.

“Vocational education needs to come back,” she adds, noting Pisani’s Service in Winters as an example, which always seems to be swamped with customers but struggles to find qualified auto mechanics to hire.

She emphasizes that education, ranching and agriculture were part of her life growing up on a walnut ranch in rural Winters, where her father, Joe Aguiar, was also the FFA instructor at Winters High School for many years. Cecilia grew up surrounded by those values, as well as the example set by both of her parents as active volunteers in the community.

“My father was an FFA leader and one of the first things I learned was leadership.”

Ironically, she adds, when she was growing up in the 1960s, girls weren’t allowed to join FFA, so she had to take those leadership skills to 4-H, which promoted female accomplishment and leadership.

In her role as Winters mayor, Cecilia has consistently made sure that Winters was well represented in regional affairs, and she says she plans to take her networking experience to the assembly district level.

“I want to see change. Rural areas have been left behind and I wasn’t happy that we weren’t at the table. We have taken our little city to the next level. People are listening to us now.”

She adds that seeing Winters take its rightful spot in regional activities excites not only local residents but the larger region as well. Having had that success gives her confidence to take on a much larger area.

“You can do it. You just have to have good leadership. I want rural communities to have the same as everyone else.”

Cecilia says other strong Yolo County women have inspired her in her political career, including Helen Thompson, Betsy Marchand and Delaine Eastin.

“There are strong women in this county,” she says, and adds that women have the advantage of being multi-taskers — they’re experienced in raising children while pursuing careers. Women are “the whole package,” she says, and bring different issues and perspectives to the conversation. The bottom line is that “women are good leaders.”

As far as serving Assembly District 4, Cecilia confidently points out that she too is the whole package.

“I know ag, I know farming — I want to do it, and I’m going to do a hell of a job.”

So, it’s official. Winters’ mayor is off and running — for a state assembly seat. Her opponents should invest in some track shoes. If they want to beat the Energizer Bunny, they’ll have to catch her first.