Mayor Pro Tem
Ms. Morales is an ardent believer in building well-planned, sustainable communities – communities that work in synergy to create safe and thriving spaces focused on families and children. Since her November 2018 election into the City Council, Ms. Morales moved policy and ordinances focused on protecting and improving the quality of life for our El Monte families and children. Some of her accomplishments include leading the efforts to establish after-school education programming, the construction of and establishing programming for Mariposa-Gibson skate park, and leading policies to hold absentee landlords responsible for creating blight. In addition, she worked closely with staff to assure the voter-approved cannabis special tax revenue will be allocated for family and children programming and public safety. Her focus on families and children derives from the work she conducts as a researcher at the University of Southern California (USC), Rossier School of Education, and as professor at Rio Hondo College.
Previous to becoming a council member, Ms. Morales served as the Chair of the City of El Monte Planning Commissioner overseeing over 5 billion-dollar development (investment initiative). In addition, Ms. Morales was a policy analyst for the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) where her research work, on behalf of the United States Congress, focused on preventing fraud and abuse of public programs and federal funds. Through her efforts, these federal programs saved $23 million in fraud and abuse, and modified policy to prevent fraud and abuse from occurring on a regular basis.
Maria Morales grew up in the Salinas Valley – a farm worker, Cesar Chavez led community – where she learned the value of hard work and dedication to improving and giving back to her community. Since those childhood harvesting days in the Salinas valley, she has earned a B.S. in Business Administration and a M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Southern California (USC). Ms. Morales is finalizing her Doctoral degree from USC in higher education, equity, diversity and inclusion.
Ms. Morales enjoys mountain biking, stand-up paddle boarding, marathon running, and spending time at the gym. Ms. Morales is married to Dr. Jorge Morales, long-term high-school administrator, and mother to Aarón Morales.