Hola, my name is Raúl Ureña.
I have lived in Calexico for a total of 13 years of my life. My mom was born in Calexico, my dad in Mexicali. Families originally coming to Mexicali from Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua y Jalisco. I was born in Salinas as my family followed the lettuce routes for work, my dad, my grandma, adopted family from Salinas kept working Winters in Yuma/Imperial Valley. We returned permanently when I was 10 years old due to inflated/increasing rent & home prices in the Central Coast.
I live South of 98 en el barrio East of Andrade por la Kiki. Graduated Calexico High in 2015. Familia en el west side de Calexico, Mexicali, Tijuana y en el ejido Oviedo Mota “Reacomodo”, Valle de Mexicali. I graduated Calexico High School, Class of 2015, when I was 17. I had made the decision to go to UC Santa Cruz to study Economics. I finished by BA at 22 and focused my education on learning about my cultures, specializing in statistics and international commerce.
In my short life I have personally experienced the economic realities of living in agricultural valleys, and a border community. Understanding how culture, politics, government influence the way we deal with international commerce especially with Mexico was my main motivation. Understanding the many reasons Calexico was held back nationally and even at a regional level was also a motivation. People in Calexico/Mexicali work hard to keep this nation fed and to manufacture electronics/air-conditioning systems to justify the levels of poverty and inequality a lot of our citizens find themselves stuck in.
Like it is for many families with our background, I went to school to learn but also to help my family get ahead. It is sad to see education has become such a high-stakes gamble for so many students. Risking major debt (major for us who have little resources) for the chance to help your family. We take the chance even if it hurts, but we must fight so things continue to be like this.
I went to college, coming back every summer to work at Calexico Neighborhood House.
I worked in the Microbusiness Department of the Calexico Neighborhood House helping small business owners in the community overcome obstacles to keep their business moving. During my time there, I worked with Assemblyman Garcia to legalize and regulate home food businesses (AB 626) to make owning a business more legal and accessible to our community.
The bill, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, allows people to open a home business without the need for a full commercial kitchen which can cost upwards of $20,000. The bill requires a simple inspection from the County Public Health Department.
I later helped them roll out new technology their main sites and their preschool. Saving them upwards of $2,000/month that would be allocated to their direct services.
I have seen a lot during my life, studies, and work in Calexico. I have seen a lot of problems and I have gotten to see where they come from: lack of clear priorities in local government, lack of leadership with a vision for the valley. I am running to change that.