Providing broadband for all has always been a priority for California Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). Earlier this year, when Governor Gavin Newsom signed Aguiar-Curry’s AB 14 and Senator Lena Gonzalez’s (D-Long Beach) SB 4, the state took a giant step closer to providing internet to all Californians. In recognition, Aguiar-Curry has been named the California Steward Leader of the Year by the California Economic Summit.
“Cecilia has been a broadband leader since she arrived in the Legislature,” said Valley Vision Managing Director Trish Kelly, who nominated Aguiar-Curry. “She’s a bridge builder, she’ll talk to anyone, and she does the work to try to move something and she’s trustworthy. It’s just a testimony to her personal characteristics of commitment, hard work, collaboration, not needing to get the credit, but having the passion to follow it through.”
When Aguiar-Curry became the mayor of Winters in 2012 she realized the importance of technology on her constituents’ lives. She worked with the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions (CALAFCO) and the Yolo County Library to conduct a study of connectivity in her county.
“We got the data and sent it to the CPUC and nothing was done. When I got elected to the Assembly, I said, ‘I’m not giving up.’” She realized that lack of connectivity wasn’t just a problem in Yolo County, but throughout the whole state.
That’s when she joined forces with Southern California’s Senator Gonzalez. “When we brought both of us together with the urban and the rural, we really knew that we had to collaborate.” She added, “I don’t have a hidden agenda. I just want internet for all and equity for all.”
Her hard work and collaboration did not go unnoticed. “What impresses me the most about the assemblymember is her deep commitment to getting the work done,” said Micah Weinberg, CEO of CA FWD. “No matter what it takes, and through her willingness to partner and get into the weeds of the technical details to make that happen, she remains focused on the people that need these services.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic closed most public spaces, internet access became a necessity for students and workers. Aguiar-Curry also saw a big need in another area: tele-health. “I really focused on healthcare because urban, as well as rural areas need good healthcare and not everyone can take that trip into the doctor’s office, but they can do it right online.” She plans to reintroduce AB 32, a telehealth bill to improve healthcare access.
In keeping with her spirit of collaboration, Aguiar-Curry said, “It takes a whole tribe to do this kind of work and people really stepped up and it was a long journey to get here. But despite that, I’m tickled with the honor and being recognized.”
Aguiar-Curry will accept the award alongside the 2021 California Regional Steward Leader honoree, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership President and CEO Kate Roberts, at the California Economic Summit in Monterey on November 10. You can register to attend the Summit here.