Senator Melissa Hurtado Hires California State Capitol’s First Hmong Chief of Staff, Shery Yang

Additional Hire Includes Jacob Villagomez as District Director

January 8, 2020

SACRAMENTO, CA – State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), representing the 14th Senate District in California, which includes cities in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties, is pleased to announce that Shery Yang has joined the office as California’s State Capitol’s first Hmong Chief of Staff. Under the direction of the Senator, the Chief of Staff is responsible for directing, coordinating and supervising the daily and long-term operations of the Senator’s office, including Capitol, District and Committee staff.

In addition, Jacob Villagomez was named the District Director – acting as a liaison between the Senator and constituents, district organizations, local governments and state agencies. Formerly the Field Representative for the Senator, Villagomez will now be responsible for developing and implementing an outreach strategy within the district.

“In the last few years, I’ve dedicated my effort to highlighting the ongoing needs of communities that are frequently overlooked,” stated Sen. Hurtado. “The challenges we face and the solutions we need often don’t align with the rest of California – making us a very unique region. Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Yang and Villagomez, who not only understand the challenges of the Valley but its people as well. Their accomplishments are the perfect blend of experiences that’ll assist in delivering results for nearly 1 million people in Senate District 14.”

“As one of the most diverse regions in California, the southern Central Valley also faces the highest rate of poverty compared to the rest of the state,” said Yang. “More specifically, California has the nation’s largest Hmong population with nearly 25,000 living in Fresno.  Sen. Hurtado has made her intentions clear: giving a voice to underrepresented communities. That’s why joining Sen. Hurtado’s team as the first Hmong Chief of Staff in the State Capitol is not only an opportunity to provide a fresh perspective but also to demonstrate that further diverse representation is needed in California.”

“I am both thrilled and privileged to serve California in this new capacity,” stated Villagomez. “I look forward to continuing the people’s work while playing a key role in executing the Senator’s vision,” continued Villagomez.

As a first generation American, Yang is the first in her family to graduate from a four-year college. Raised in Yuba and Fresno County, Yang’s family escaped the Secret War in Laos and as refugees, settled in California in the 80s. Yang has 13 years of experience in politics, policy and communications – managing outreach and community relations strategies for companies and non-profit organizations including AvidXchange, National Wildlife Federation’s Choose Clean Water Coalition, California Trucking Association and more. Yang received her Bachelor’s in Government from Sacramento State.

Villagomez is a proud Sanger-native and is passionate about family, strong coffee and of course all things related to the Central Valley. He previously served the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) as an economic development professional and formerly served with the Office of Former Assemblyman Henry T. Perea. Villagomez received his Bachelor’s in Political Science from Fresno State and is a Maddy Institute alum.

About Senator Melissa Hurtado

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) represents the 14th Senate district in California, which includes cities in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties, Senator Hurtado was born in Fresno, California and raised in the City of Sanger.