EJ grew up in Central Washington, where at an early age he became aware of rural poverty and inequities in opportunity. His commitment to health equity and access began while attending college at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, where he was later awarded distinguished alumnus in 2016. While there, EJ was the driving force in the establishment of a student health center at the university.
After college, EJ continued his passion for organizing and worked on numerous campaigns to help communities build electoral power and achieve wins on education, voting rights, and labor initiatives. He also served as executive director of Amplify, an organization that recruits, trains, and helps elect candidates from historically underrepresented communities. He went on to serve by gubernatorial appointment on both the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs and the Commission on Judicial Conduct.
Most recently, EJ was the community partnerships and government relations manager at the Seattle Public Library, about which he says, “I love libraries and believe ‘The truest measure of a democracy is how strong and loved its libraries are by the people.’”
EJ is excited about working at Group Health Foundation because of its approach to community-driven work and community-sourced solutions. He’s a firm believer that people who are experiencing oppression and inequity are the best equipped to provide solutions to those problems. “This is an opportunity for our region to tap the expertise that lives in every community to help everyone thrive.”
Throughout his career, EJ has learned that being “radically authentic” is paramount, especially in politics and public policy. “I believe a lot of good can be done if people just say: ‘Here’s where I’m coming from, this is what’s true for me, here are the cards I’m holding, and let’s talk about how this may work with what you have in your hand.’”
EJ also has a strong commitment to board service. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Washington Low-income Housing Action Fund, LATINO-PAC, University of Washington-Bothell School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, and the City of Seattle’s Democracy Voucher Advisory Committee. In his free time, EJ is an avid reader and enjoys live music from neo-soul to hip hop to alternative 90s rock.