Rising Above the Struggle
Mark grew up fast. He had to. From the time he was 10, his mother would be gone from 7 in the morning to 7 at night commuting and working to provide for the family. Mark saw the injustice first-hand of his mother being denied an equitable wage as a legal secretary for a Century City law firm.
That left Mark to figure out a lot about life and how to help the family make ends meet on his own. Mark was one of those kids selling candy outside of supermarkets and door-to-door. He would recycle cans to pay for his bus pass. Mark learned to use his struggles as motivation to help others.
A Democratic Activist is Awoken
A Democratic Activist is Awoken
At Eagle Rock Jr./Sr. High School, he was elected class president from the 8th grade through his senior year. He led efforts to unite the surrounding communities to play a greater role in supporting student success through mentoring, financial support, and internships. It’s also where he met then-Congressman Xavier Becerra and was first encouraged to get involved in strengthening his neighborhood politically. He helped re-elect Becerra and became an active member of the Northeast Democratic Club of Los Angeles.
Sacrificing and Forging Ahead
Mark had saved up everything he could to afford his first year of college, but sacrificed it all to pay for the funeral of his brother who passed away tragically and suddenly. Mark, again, figured out a way forward. He took classes at Santa Monica College full-time and worked in between. He then earned scholarships and public grants to transfer to Cal State Northridge where he graduated with honors.
Dedicated to Growing the Democratic Party
Throughout college, Mark had increased his involvement and his role in local Democratic Party campaigns and advocacy work. He regularly helped register new citizens as Democrats and helped secure Los Angeles as a Democratic stronghold with registration drives throughout the county. Mark played lead roles locally in the 2004 presidential campaign, in the 2005 L.A. City mayoral race, 2006 gubernatorial race, and the 2008 presidential campaign for Barack Obama. Longtime Northeast Democratic activist, Ruby Medrano saw his hard work and mentored Mark to join the Democratic Party Central Committee. He was later appointed and then elected as a member.
Mark would go on to hold every rank-and-file position within the LACDP. More Democratic activists quickly recognized his commitment and work ethic. They elected him to serve in the leadership positions of Assembly District Delegation Chair, Corresponding Secretary, and now Vice-Chair. Mark also serves as Chair of the 51st Assembly District Delegation, and as an Executive Board Member for the California Democratic Party.
Mark served as Field Representative to then-Assemblymember Anthony Portantino and Senior Field Representative to Speaker John A. Pérez. Now, as District Director to Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, Mark continues to be at the forefront of some of our most important Democratic legislative fights and victories.
Leading with the Values He Learned in the Struggle
It wasn’t until Mark worked for the State Assembly that he first received a health insurance card. He’d grown up waiting in line with the thousands of Angelenos who had no insurance at the Northeast Community Clinics. The public clinics were his lifeline to a healthy childhood. He now serves as Chair of the Board Directors for the clinics to ensure that health care continues to improve for our communities.
As Chair of the LACDP, Mark always uses the struggles he went through and the lessons from mentors who love our Party to help unite and empower Democrats to grow, strengthen, and continue leading one of the most influential central committees in the nation.