Ray Marquez was elected to the Chino Hills City Council in a special election held in March of 2013 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former City Council Member Bill Kruger. Ray served the remainder of that term and was re-elected in 2014. He has been an active volunteer, civic leader, and realtor in the community since 1984. He was a member of the Chino Hills Incorporation Committee, which sought to establish Chino Hills as a City. He also served as an elected Board Member for the Chino Valley Independent Fire District from 2006.
What was the one thing no one told you about being an elected official that you wish you’d known before you were elected?
I’m a straight shooter. I’m in this to fix problems, and it gets frustrating when I go to the Republican Central Committee and I hear other candidates talk about the core concerns of the Republican Party—issues like being pro-life, the second amendment, transgender bathrooms—when, as a state assemblyman, we need to discuss and solve issues at the state level. Those core issues have been addressed at a different level. I can have my own opinion but I work at the state level, and the problem is that people are working their own personal agenda, catering to special interests and not looking at the issues at hand.
As an elected official you must balance your job, your duties as an elected official and family obligations, not to mention trying to find personal time for yourself. How do you balance all these duties and obligations? Is there a secret to doing this well you can share?
My dad, who died when I was 19, told me that if I’m ever going to complain I have to come up with good solutions–as a firefighter and a real estate agent I have remembered that. Throughout my life and through different committees I’ve been on I’ve remembered that. My goal is to come up with solutions. That solution is to find balance. I have a great wife to help me. Every night when I come home my wife and I sit and talk, all my kids are grown and I have one grandson. I call my kids during the day to tell them I love them and we plan trips here and there, and even with my extended family. Family is important to me, religion is important to me, and my wife and I go to church. So that’s what I try to do—try to communicate. I have a friend who just lost his brother and I made a point to call him and talk and let him know I’m there for him. That’s what I do.
Who was your political mentor—someone who guided and supported you and prepared you for public service? What kind of advice did they give you that was the most important/useful to you?
California Congresswoman Grace Napolitano. She’s a democratic congresswoman who believes in what she does. I have learned the most from her. She is a strong women who is willing to reach across the political tables to do what is best for her constituents, not just her party. A real people person who cares the most about people who will do the right things for the right reasons. It’s not so much that she taught me anything other than I saw what she did, and she has inspired me.
Describe a project you spearheaded or supported that you’re proud of. Why was it successful and what did you learn from it that helped you be a better policymaker?
Before I got elected we in Chino Hills were fighting Southern California Edison (SCE) because they were starting to place 200-foot towers throughout residential areas. We had originally taken it to court and lost, and as soon as we did Edison put the powerlines in the middle of our city. When the community saw what they were getting and weren’t happy, we started a group called Hope for the Hills to fight SCE. Because I knew so many people in the community, I was able to reach out to many Democrats close to home. We shared mutual respect. I knew how to communicate with them. And I realized that I couldn’t be abrasive when asking for help. I took a step back and started communicating better. We then reached out to Republicans and all started working together. We invited the California Public Utilities Commission out and opened their eyes. They made a decision to take the towers down and the lines were put underground. It worked because we were good communicators, worked hard and didn’t let up. This is what I’m most proud of as elected official.
What was the most memorable day of your life?
The day I got married. I consider myself a tough guy but when I was giving my vows to my wife I got real emotional. I was laughing and crying at the same time. It was something I have never experienced and something I will always remember.
If you had to be on one television show, which show would you choose and why?
I wish I could sing, but in reality I am a survivor, so it would be Survivor.
Who will be the next President of the U.S? Who should be the next President?
I think it will be Hillary Clinton, unfortunately. I think it should be John Kasich. This is one of those important issues that I’m debating in my mind right now. I wish I had the confidence in Mr. Trump, but I don’t and I feel like we’ve let the party down. Still, I hope Trump wins, and once he’s in I hope he gets some great people around him. I can’t align myself with who he is and how he treats people, but once he’s president and I’m asked to support him, I’ll do my part. This is one of those times that we as a country have to come together.
Ray Marquez and his wife, Barbara, have been proud residents of Chino Hills since 1984. Together, they have three grown children Patrick, Rey, and Andrew. On New Year’s Day, 2016, Ray and Barbara became grandparents when Andrew and his wife Melissa welcomed their first child, son Bentley.
This interview was conducted by freelance writer Mary Ann Marshall.