By: Jorge Rocha, Candidate for the 46th Congressional District
This is the first of several articles that I will be writing to introduce myself to the constituency of the California’s 46th US Congressional District.
Today, I am introducing myself to you so that you will be able to know me better as a person and about my ideas on government and politics in general.. My objective is to win your trust and your which should help me be one of the two top vote getters in the June 5 Primary Election. Such outcome will then propel me to the General Election in early November 2012. The ultimate objective is of course, to defeat Rep. Loretta Sanchez in the latter.
I, like thousands of other living in Orange County and millions of others living in the United States, was born in another country. I was born in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. At the early age of 8 years old, my family legally emigrated to the GREAT country known as The United States of America. Upon arriving from Mexico my family settled in the city of Santa Ana in the part of the city commonly known as “Barrio de Santa Anita”. While growing up I attended the public school system offered in both, the Santa Ana School District and the Garden Grove School District. I can still remember and have fond memories of all my most of my teachers from elementary school on to high school. They all really cared about my education, they all cared about me as a person, they were all supportive and I firmly believe that they wanted me to succeed in life. All my teachers were Anglo-Saxon and today I cannot thank them enough for instilling in me the desire to learn about what it takes to succeed I life.
“Santa Anita” was a very tough neighborhood as I was growing up. Gangs were constantly recruiting kids to join. I never had the motivation to join the “Barrio” gangs . I, and my brothers were never harassed by the gangs because we had been best friends with some of its leaders while growing up. Most of those friends are dead, in prison or moved to another city or state, some are still living in the “Barrio” and a few successfully secured higher education degrees. I truly believe that what kept me out of trouble in the “barrio” was my participation in sports. I was already a good soccer player. I had learned the trade of kicking the soccer ball while playing in the dirt streets of my old town in Mexico. In my new home, America, I was introduced to new sports and pastimes by my “Chicano” neighbors. I learned how to play baseball and I became very good at it. I remember walking everyday with my brother and friends to practice and to our little league games, from our home in Santa Anita to El Salvador Park. We were kids and we did not mind all the daily walking that we did. My father was never able to take me or pick me up from practice or games because he was busy working 7 days per week as a farmer trying to make a living for our family. I don’t remember ever being hungry in my life. My father and my mother did one hell of a job in supplying the basic necessities that we needed and in raising us, their children, to the best of their combined abilities.
In high school I really got involved in sports. I attended Los Amigos High School located in Fountain Valley. I was the placekicker on the football team, I wrestled and was the captain and leading scorer on the soccer team. I was the Garden Grove League Player of the Year and one of Orange County’s top players. My soccer skills got the attention of the coach at California State University Fullerton, who in time persuaded me to go play there. CSUF had one of the top soccer programs in the west coast and in the country when I played for them. I played varsity the 4 years that I attended CSUF and also led the team in scoring two years . While at CSUF, I also got really involved with my studies. I became very interested in learning about accounting and business and I decided to pursue a Business Administration major. I graduated from CSUF in 1981. Upon graduation, my degree opened the doors of opportunity for me and I was able to secure a permanent position as a tax auditor with the State Board of Equalization in Santa Ana. While working with the state, I obtained valuable work experience and I learned first hand about how a government entity functions and how the tax laws are enforced and implemented on the private sector. After working for more than six years as a tax auditor, I made the decision to start my own tax preparation business and to also represent clients with their real estate needs, as I had by then, also secured my real estate broker license.
The start of my entrepreneur career got off to a shaky start as most business startups do. Being bilingual (English and Spanish) proved to be a tremendous advantage for me in attracting Spanish and English speaking clients. In a matter of one year my business began to prosper and it is then that I realized that I had made the correct decision in seeking the American dream of owning your own business. After 20 years of owning my business I can honestly say that I made a great decision. In owning my business I learned how the enterprise system works and about the difficulties that every entrepreneur has in trying to maintain an enduring profitable business. I also learned and experienced first hand, how the bureaucratic system of government with its regulations and constant red tape can negatively affect the growth and the survival of a small business.
The best and most important part of my experience as a business owner was the fact that I was able to meet many of people that eventually became my clients, and who I also consider my friends. I have friends that have been my clients for 20 or more years. I have seen their families grow and prosper in quest for the American dream of being successful in all aspects of life. Some are very successful and most are not. Few of my clients have children that have been fortunate to have attended good schools, have successfully graduated from college and have gone on to be successful in life. The vast majority of my client’s children did not have the opportunity to attend college as most barely graduated from high school. Many of them did not even graduate from high school. Worst of all, most of these kids are not able to speak or write in one common language! What future awaits these kids? Is there enough McDonald’s jobs for these kids? I constantly began to ask myself.
Several years ago I began to read and to learn more about the education system in California and in the United States in general. I was appalled by the monopolized and corrupt education system of our present day. Such system creates a very visible inequality that starts in kindergarten and carries on through high school and even to higher education institutions. The worst thing about it is that it consistently affects the elementary, intermediate and high schools where the majority of students are of Hispanic descent.
As I was learning all this information on our education system I began to get interested in politics and developed a burning desire of wanting to do something about what I perceived as being wrong for our community, state and country. I decided to jump into politics to try to do something about truly helping to reform our education system. I believe that all inequality in America starts and ends with education. I believe that it is in the best interest of local, state and federal government to work together as a team in finally fixing and reforming our failing public education system. I was recently told by an educator that prior to 1970, United States, had the best public school system in the world. What has happened to our public school system since 1970? Why don’t we have the best public education system in the world anymore? What must we do as a country to regain such status again? Do we want to regain such status? If we don’t want to become a third world country and if we don’t want to create a welfare state, we must do everything possible to offer all K=12 students, “quality” education and nothing less!
Candidate for the 46th Congressional District