Melissa Melendez named Woman of the Year


Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez. Photo by Donna Ritchie.

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez has been named the 2018 Elected Woman of the Year by California Women Lead for her outstanding work in public service. Assemblywoman Melendez represents the 67th Assembly District, which includes the community of Canyon Lake.

“Melissa Melendez’s dedication to public service is something to be admired,” said Rachel Michelin, Executive Director/CEO of California Women Lead. “From being a trailblazer in the United States Navy to passing groundbreaking legislation for victims of sexual harassment, Melissa Melendez was an obvious choice for this award.”

California Women Lead is a bipartisan organization that seeks to identify and recruit women across California to government, either by appointment or as candidates. California Women Lead is California’s largest nonpartisan association of women leaders.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to be recognized as the Elected Woman of the Year,” said Melissa. “Thank you to California Women Lead for always standing up and advocating for women in politics.”

Melissa was first elected to the California State Assembly in 2012. Before her time in the State Assembly, she served on the Lake Elsinore City Council where she also served as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem.

Before running for elected office, Melendez was one of the first women approved by the U.S. Navy to fly aboard EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft overseas, conducting reconnaissance and intelligence gathering operations. She served as a Russian translator for ten years during the height of the Cold War and flew covert missions during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Melissa has distinguished herself for being a tireless advocate for veterans, public safety, improving California’s business climate, and government transparency.

Her most recent accomplishment was leading the charge to grant whistleblower protection to legislative staff in California’s State Capitol. Earlier this month, Governor Brown signed into law Melissa’s Legislative Employees Whistleblower Protection Act ensuring no victim of sexual harassment in the Legislature can be fired for speaking out.

Melissa has five children with her husband Nico, who is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy. Nico continues to serve as a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

The 67th Assembly District that Melissa represents include the communities of Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake, Murrieta, Menifee, Wildomar and a portion of Hemet. It also includes the Riverside County unincorporated areas of Lake Mathews, Good Hope, Nuevo and Winchester.