Date of Award

Winter 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Mia Ocean, Ph.D., MSW

Committee Member

Kristin Crossney, Ph.D., Planning and Public Policy

Committee Member

Allison Turner, Ph.D., MPA


This research study is a qualitative inquiry into Latino public servants in Central California. Drawing from the knowledge of 60 Central Valley Latinos, the study provides details of their inside accounts of their public service paths and political journeys. The public servants shared personal stories of successes and barriers from their experiences and lessons learned through in-depth interviews and focus groups. The findings translated into recommendations for potential Latino leaders to seek public life as volunteers or to run for political office. The themes of political ambition and social networks and capital arose with subthemes of policies, gender politics, leadership development, and skill-building opportunities. Recommendations include the intentional preparation of the younger Latino generation, sustainable funding for leadership programs, Central Valley-focused leadership development programs and political training curriculums with mental health and wellness components, and extensive mentorship programs.