SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) named Kathy Zanger Ruiz, lifelong champion of education and a fierce advocate for the empowerment of women, Assembly District 30’s 2021 Woman of the Year. Ruiz was honored as part of the Women’s History Month celebration hosted by the Legislative Women’s Caucus.
“I am proud to recognize Kathy Ruiz as the Woman of the Year in Assembly District 30,” Asm. Rivas said. “She’s a valued leader who has had a deep impact on our community, and people across my district will attest to the numerous ways Kathy has changed their lives for the better. She has spent a half a century working to create opportunities for those most in need, and I applaud her lifelong dedication to public service.”
Ruiz, a resident of Hollister, has over 50 years of service to our community in Assembly District 30, working to uplift the most vulnerable members of our community.
Ruiz’s professional career focused on empowering women. At Gavilan Community College in Gilroy, she served as a Title IX Coordinator and Head Counselor and became the Director of the Women’s Re-entry Program that advocated for and supported women returning to formal education. The success of this program was recognized nationally by the Ford Foundation. She also served as president of the San Benito County Board of Education from 1975-77 and as Gavilan College’s Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences before retiring in 1985.
In 1989, Ruiz married Anthony “Tony” Ruiz, a Spanish teacher at Gavilan College. Together, they were active in local politics. Mrs. Ruiz served on the Democratic Party Central Committee in San Benito County and volunteered on many local campaigns.
Throughout her life, Ruiz has continued working to uplift the most vulnerable members of our community. She served for 10 years as a court appointed special advocate for three children from Monterey County. She also served as head of the Fishes and Loaves/Peace and Justice Ministry at Sacred Heart/St. Benedict Church in Hollister. Seeing a growing need for homeless services, Ruiz chaired the homeless task force that set up the first emergency shelter in San Benito County.
Tonight, the California Assembly will host an online reception for all Assembly districts’ 2021 Woman of the Year honorees.