Jesse Melgar, a spokesperson with Central American and Mexican roots

Jesse Melgar, spokesman for Governor Gavin Newsom. (Photo by Brian Baer, ​​courtesy of Governor Gavin Newsom's office).

Brian Baer / Governor's Office Newsom

For Jesse Melgar, who was a spokesman for former Senator Ricardo Lara, of the Latino bench in the state legislature and of the California secretary of state, Alex Padilla, working with Governor Gavin Newsom, is an incredibly satisfying experience.

“I had the option of going to the private sector, but I decided to put my skills at the service of those who have no representation and be their voice on the table,” he says.

Jesse Melgar, 31, was appointed in January as deputy director of media and public affairs at Governor Newsom's office. It is part of the group of Latinos who work behind the scenes in state government.

In addition to working for former Senator Lara and Secretary of State Padilla, he was communications director for the Equality California organization and communication manager for the Riverside Chambers of Commerce.

“I was born in San Bernardino and grew up in Riverside. My father is from El Salvador and my mother is a third-generation Mexican American, ”he says.

His father, a rural teacher in El Salvador escaped the violence of the Civil War in 1981. He entered the country without documents, settled in San José in northern California and when he worked in a factory of aircraft seat belts, he met a Mexican American with whom he married.

Jesse is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, of the Political Science and Chicano Studies degrees.

He has a master's degree in public policy from the University of California at Riverside. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the School of Public Health at the University of California at Riverside.

His interest in the government was born when his father became a citizen of the United States after obtaining his residence during President Reagan's Amnesty.

But working with Governor Newsom has allowed Jesse to introduce a diverse perspective in all the campaigns of marketing of the state government.

"For this governor it is very important to prioritize the values ​​of the people, make alliances with the media in Spanish and always listen to the Latino community," he says.

He had the opportunity last April to accompany Governor Newsom to El Salvador, the country that saw his father born 57 years ago. “I was able to share my dad's experience as an immigrant and his sacrifices, but that trip also served to raise awareness about asylum seekers and examine the root causes of migration,” he says.

"It was a surreal and incredibly sobering experience," he says.

For Jesse, the only one in his family to graduate from university and achieve a master's degree, working at this time of division in the country for Governor Newsom, is a great privilege. But also a responsibility to defend communities through strategic policies and the role of communicators in states of resistance such as California.

What does Hispanic heritage mean to you?

“We are where we are today because of the generations of sacrifice before us. That is why we are celebrating this month, the contributions of the Latino community in the past, present and future. And those of us who have the honor of working for the governor, bring our experience of life, education and values ​​to our work every day on behalf of the people of California, ”says Jesse.


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