Melissa Ramoso was sworn in as the first Asian American female mayor in Artesia, California, on Dec. 13.
“It is incredible to think that there were people who didn’t want me to accept the nomination today and suppress my rising into this role,” Ramoso said in her speech on Monday, per Asian Journal. “To withhold my rising, is a belittlement to my parents, because my greatest achievement is living up to their legacy. And in these positions of power, I am constantly reminded how hard it is for a female to constantly justify herself and be looked upon for assistance.”
Over the last 14 years, Ramoso has worked for several lawmakers, Filipino American Democratic groups and the Democratic party.
According to the website for her previous run for city council, Ramoso describes herself as an active member of the Artesia community. She is a Gahr High School and University of California Irvine alumnus and former vice president of the Friends of Artesia Foundation.
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“Thank you to my council colleagues for trusting in me to serve as Artesia’s first Asian and Pacific Islander and Filipino female mayor. I am deeply honored and humbled to be elected by peers for this role,” Ramoso said.
Artesia is home to 17,000 people, about 10% of whom are Filipino. The town is filled with many small Filipino-owned businesses, including a Cafe 86 branch owned by cooking reality show “Chopped” champion Ginger Lim-Dimapasok.
“She’s (Ramoso) been such a great advocate for small businesses like others and we’re just excited to see her here and very proud to see her rise,” Lim-Dimapasok told ABS-CBN. “For us, it’s really important to have someone like Melissa advocating for small businesses like us because she knows what we need. She is hands-on on the ground and she’s down there with us and the help she’s been giving us is so immeasurable.”
While addressing what points she wants to focus on in office, Ramoso said: “Just keeping our residents safe, the health and safety of our residents, our employees; making sure our city is sound and financially stable. Those are the tenants that are important to keep the city running and healthy.”
The nearby city of Carson also inducted its first Filipina councilwoman in 30 years, Arleen Bocatija Rojas.