Ruby Robles loves being where the action is. That’s one big reason that the CSUDH alumna’s current job, working in Washington, D.C., as the press secretary for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, suits her to a T.
“I’m right here where the laws are made,” says Robles. “Washington, D.C., is at the center of the news all the time. I’m really drawn to that–the excitement and the atmosphere.”
As press secretary, Robles is part of Warren’s communications team and is responsible for everything from writing press releases and coordinating interviews to pitching stories to reporters or providing the public with background information on pending legislation. Robles also helps manage Warren’s social media platforms, so is deeply involved with both traditional and digital communications for the senator.
Robles is also proud to be the current president of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association (CHSA), an official, bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Staff Organization, whose mission is to recruit, retain, and advance Hispanic staffers in the Senate and House of Representatives. CHSA supports its members by providing professional development, networking opportunities, job placement, and mentorship for Latinx individuals working in Congress. The group has over 400 members in Washington DC and across the country.
“I think the best part of my job is that my work can make a difference in the lives of lots of people,” says Robles. “I’m just one person, but I work for a senator that is always fighting for the right things.”
As an example of the work she takes so much pride in, Robles points to the Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022. “That bill included the biggest investment to fight climate change ever. It also included provisions to lower the cost of prescription drugs. A lot of work went into that–a whole year of negotiations between lawmakers.”
“The staff played a really critical role in making it happen,” says Robles. “On my end, I drafted tweets about the difference this bill would make, and now that it’s passed, I continue to highlight the ways that people are benefiting from it. That’s one of my favorite things about my job. I’m able to fight for what I stand for and help make a difference.”
Born in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, Robles’ family moved to Southern California when she was five years old, eventually settling in Pomona. She learned English while attending elementary school, showing the determination and hard work that have guided her ever since.
Robles didn’t always have her sights set on a career in politics. Upon graduating from high school in Pomona, she was accepted into CSUDH as a first-generation college student, majoring in international business. She soon discovered that business courses weren’t her thing and switched her major to a subject she had long had a passion for–art.
Robles’ mother was active in politics, having served as a local councilwoman for the National Action Party when the family was still living in Mexico. At her mother’s urging, Robles added a second major in political science to her art courses. “She wanted me to study something else as well, so I could get a good job after college,” she laughs. “I was like, ‘Okay, fine, Mom, I will study politics, too.’ It’s a subject that I also really enjoyed.”
While studying at CSUDH, Robles grew more and more involved with the campus community. She volunteered in the Associated Students, Inc. office and found student government interesting and exciting. Robles also served as the president of the CSUDH Political Science Club and co-founded the CSUDH Arts Collective, the first art club on campus.
Robles got her feet wet in national politics while still a Toro undergraduate. She interned at the San Pedro district office of Rep. Nanette Díaz Barragán and found herself drawn to the work and the atmosphere. “I really enjoyed that experience. I thought this was something I could really see myself doing.”
After spending a year abroad studying international relations in London, England, Robles wanted to resume her work in politics. She landed a summer internship in Rep. Barragán’s Washington office and found that she felt right at home. “It felt like I was living a dream,” says Robles.
In 2018, following her internship in Washington, she returned to Southern California to finish her last semester at CSUDH. While attending school as a full-time student, she interned on the congressional campaign of Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr., who was running for a recently vacated seat in a battleground district covering Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties.
When Cisneros won the election, Robles stayed with his team, moving back to DC to serve as a staff/press assistant. She worked with him for a year before joining Sen. Warren’s presidential campaign in 2019.
“I really wanted to work on a presidential campaign for a candidate that I believed in,” says Robles. “So I applied to work for Senator Warren’s presidential campaign. I didn’t think I would, but I got the job and joined her social media team.” Robles moved up to Boston to work at the campaign headquarters.
A couple of months after Sen. Warren’s presidential campaign ended, Robles saw that a job in the senator’s office had opened up. She applied and got the job as a press assistant. Robles was promoted to deputy press secretary a year later, then into her current role as press secretary.
Going forward, Robles plans to continue on her current path and see where it takes her. “I can’t really see myself not working in politics. There are just so many different levels to explore.”
For Robles, the most important lesson to be learned from her success is, “Don’t be afraid to dream too big! You can do it. I never thought that a person like me, an immigrant from Mexico, would end up in a place like this, working in Congress. You’ve just got to dream big and go for it!”