By Jessica Lopez
As a former legislative representative for Ward 3 councilman Andy Melendrez, Clarissa Cervantes has worked with residents in the UC Riverside area for years.
Cervantes met directly with neighborhood groups every month.
She has worked with Riverside’s Public Works Department, addressing traffic in the city and other constituents’ needs. She said she would follow up with people over several months, allowing for open communication in the community.
“The fascinating part for me was when one of the members said, ‘I don’t know my neighbors and that really upsets me,” Cervantes said. “And so someone said we should have a ‘meet your neighbors’ event. Everyone, including the city staff came out to introduce themselves to the neighborhood people. It was just transformative.”
Cervantes lists housing as a main concern of Ward 2 residents. She argued accessible housing for families and students directly relates to how COVID-19 has impacted many residents.
She said it is at the forefront of her plans.
“I take it very seriously,” Cervantes said. “It is something that is impacting our most vulnerable and at-risk communities.”
She has also represented thousands of nurses and other medical professionals in Riverside County as a union organizer.
“I’m honored that I’ve actually been endorsed by over 900 registered nurses and healthcare professionals at Riverside Community Hospital,” she said.
Cervantes said she will work to make sure that this city is fought for in terms of funding, to make sure that we have the proper care and all the right types of equipment.
Cervantes also said she would strive for inclusivity, equity and transparency in the city government.
She plans to do this by redirecting services to the East Side, providing the same distribution of services in overlooked communities as in their more affluent counterparts.
“My door will always be open,” she said. “We can make sure that people feel like they belong to the conversation, that their opinions matter, that we need them.”
A mail-in election will be held June 8.