Lorena is the first woman and first person of color to serve as Chief Officer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO. She was sworn in on July 27, 2022.
Lorena’s first summer job was with the San Diego Labor Council’s Labor Participation non-profit, handing out food bags to striking workers. She would later go on to become the Political Director and eventually be elected Secretary-Treasurer and Chief Officer of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
In 2013, Lorena was elected to the State Assembly promising to fight for California’s working and middle classes. The Atlantic Magazine labeled her “The California Democrat setting the National Agenda” for her practical, progressive legislation aimed at alleviating real issues in people’s lives.
In 2014, she passed historic legislation to allow every single Californian the ability to earn paid sick leave, creating a model for the nation to follow. In 2016, she went on to author a law making California the first state in the nation to require farmworkers to be paid overtime after 8 hours of work in a day. Lorena also authored legislation to protect janitorial workers against sexual assault and provide professional cheerleaders basic labor protections, both of which became subjects of national PBS documentaries. In 2019, Lorena passed Assembly Bill 5, the strongest law in the country protecting workers against misclassification and wage theft. In 2021, Lorena passed legislation to ensure employers in California can be criminally prosecuted and sent to prison for engaging in intentional wage theft, and she authored the nation’s first law establishing worker protections against Amazon’s dangerous warehouse production quotas.
Lorena was the first Latina to serve as Chairwoman of a legislative Appropriations Committee, and was the longest serving Chair in history. She also served as Chairwoman of the California Latino Legislative Caucus from 2019 to 2020.
A graduate of Stanford University, Lorena also holds a master’s degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from UCLA.