Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Garamendi Honors Nine Vacaville Women at His Annual Women of the Year Awards

October 13, 2016
Press Release

WOODLAND, CA – Today, at his 3rd annual Women of the Year Event, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Yuba City, Davis, CA) honored 44 women, including nine Vacaville residents, who are leaders and inspirations in their communities. The women, from all eight counties in the district, have been trailblazers and advocates in community service, business, education, local government, and the military. The honorees from Vacaville are Christina Baird, Nicole Braddock, Rosario Burton, Sandra Esparza, Dilenna Harris, Julia Lopez, Laura Petty, Carol Pruett, and Estella San Juan.

“This may be my favorite day of the year, because it always replenishes my faith in the selflessness and dedication of my constituents, and it inspires me to look within to see what more I can do to help the people I represent,” Congressman Garamendi said.  “In every community of this district, down every valley and up every mountain, there are women making a difference. The women we recognized today were nominated by their peers, and they come from every walk of life focused on virtually every major issue our diverse district faces.”

Following the introductory remarks and Congressional Commendation presentations, Congressman Garamendi and the women of the year discussed ways Congress and the federal government can do more to improve quality of life in the 3rd District. This conversation touched on increasing the Alzheimer’s budget, devoting more focus to mental health services, alleviating hunger, and tackling the homelessness crisis.

“Every topic you’ve brought up touches on many of the priorities of the women in this room. There’s an education piece, a community service piece, a research piece, a private sector piece, and a public sector piece. I want you to keep my office informed about your concerns, because you have your fingers on the pulse of your community,” Congressman Garamendi said.

Each year, Congressman Garamendi recognizes outstanding women of California’s 3rd Congressional district who have been nominated by their peers and have demonstrated a clear commitment to their community through their leadership and dedication to public service.

About the Women Leaders from Vacaville

Christina Baird – Christina Baird is an advocate for children, donating her time and efforts to many non-profit organizations that serve children and their families. She is the acting President of the Optimist Club of Solano County and she sits on the board of the Solano Partnership Against Violence. She is also an active member of the local Chambers of Commerce and was awarded the KI Jones Award for her service to the Chamber.

Nicole Braddock – Nicole Braddock serves as the Executive Director of the Solano Land Trust, where she has raised more than $20 million for conservation and acquired the 1,500 acre Rockville Trails Preserve. She also helped establish the Napa County Parks and Open Space Council. She's also an active volunteer for children's causes, including the maintenance of trails at the Solano Lake Boy Scout summer camp.

Rosario Burton – Rosario Burton generously donates her time and talent to the David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base providing counseling and comfort to patients in need. Rosario is also a skilled inventor and a successful author of the book “Yes, Anyone Can.” She regularly demonstrates her dedication to serving others and truly enjoys the work she does volunteering.

Sandra Esparza – Sandra is a former President of the Solano County Soroptomist Club, helping advance programs that support women and girls of all ages.  As a chairperson for the Live Your Dreams program, Sandra continually sought out the young women participants to ensure they were assisted by the Club in their aspirations of furthering their education

Dilenna Harris – Dilenna Harris made her mark in business and through public service while on the Vacaville City Council. She was a founding partner in an alternative energy company and served as the CEO of a light company for 20 years. She is also the immediate past Chairperson of the Travis Regional Armed Forces Committee and serves on the Travis Community Consortium, helping everyone in the Travis community.

Julia Lopez – Julia Lopez is a tireless supporter of her community and has a great passion for helping others. She raises funds for many non-profits, including the Dixon Teen Center, Dixon Family Services, Vacaville’s Opportunity House, and the Solano Midnight Sun Breast Cancer Foundation. She also started an annual Adopt-a-Family Christmas program to provide extra help through holidays for Solano County families in need. She is also a former president of the Dixon Rotary Club.

Laura Petty – Laura Petty has dedicated her life to making the justice system more equitable. The founding partner of her law firm, she has dedicated her legal career to making the legal system accessible for children and the socially disadvantaged. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Vacaville Public Education Foundation and the Vacaville Unified School District Measure A Citizens’ Oversight Committee.

Carol Pruett – Carol Pruett serves as the Chief Administrator of the Dixon Chamber of Commerce, and without her positive leadership, Dixon would not have the reputation of generosity, community spirit, business enthusiasm, and strategic growth that this small town enjoys today.  Carol serves as the Ambassador of Dixon to all levels of local government, and her tireless community involvement is central to executing the Dixon May Fair, Dixon Rotary International activities, and countless other community and family focused events. 

Estella San Juan – Estella San Juan is a devoted public servant and her tireless dedication to helping others in need has earned her recognition as a leading senior citizen of Vacaville.  As an Army Veteran, she used her GI bill towards her college education and earned her Masters Degree in Education.  Estella strongly believes in education and serves on the Assist-A-Grad committee which helps raise funds and select high achieving high school students for scholarship assistance.

Full biographies can be found here.

Full List of 2016’s Women of the Year from the 3rd Congressional District


Nancy Aaberg, Marysville, Yuba County

Helen Andrews, Fairfield, Solano County

Christina Baird, Vacaville, Solano County

Susan Barrett, Maxwell, Colusa County

Rebecca Belk, Fairfield, Solano County

Nicole Braddock, Vacaville, Solano County

Rosario Burton, Vacaville, Solano County

Mary Lou Byer, Yuba City, Sutter County

Nieckol Cook, Clearlake, Lake County

Donna Critchfield, Colusa, Colusa County

Erin Cucchi, Yuba City, Sutter County

Tara Dacus, Fairfield, Solano County

Carolyn Denton, Orland, Glenn County

Sandra  Esparza, Vacaville, Solano County

Elly Fairclough, Davis, Yolo County

Anne Fletcher, Yuba City, Sutter County

Kay Green, Fairfield, Solano County

M.R.C. Greenwood, Davis, Yolo County

Dilenna Harris, Vacaville, Solano County

Marilyn Hays, Woodland, Yolo County

Linda Hickman, Dixon, Solano County

Lynnette Irlmeier, Woodland, Yolo County

Jennifer Jelavich, Yuba City, Sutter County

Marsha Krouse-Taylor, Yuba City, Sutter County

Julia Lopez, Vacaville, Solano County

Betsy Marchand, Davis, Yolo County

Jody Meza, Orland, Glenn County

Sandy Person, Fairfield, Solano County

Laura Petty, Vacaville, Solano County

Patricia Powell, Dixon, Solano County

Carol Pruett, Vacaville, Solano County

Nicole Riley, Yuba City, Sutter County

Terry Rivera, Colusa, Colusa County

Yvonne Robbins, Fairfield, Solano County

Lea Rosenberg, Davis, Yolo County

Estella San Juan, Vacaville, Solano County

Debbra Springsteen, Browns Valley, Yuba County

Christine Stifter, Orland, Glenn County

Jean VanderGheynst, Davis, Yolo County

Sandra  Waterhouse, Walnut Grove, Sacramento County

Keetra  Welling, Fairfield, Solano County

Kristy Wright, Woodland, Yolo County

Mariko Yamada, Davis, Yolo County

Rosalind Young-Reid, Fairfield, Solano County