Each year the California State Assembly recognizes outstanding women from each Assembly district. In the past we have recognized women in business, public safety, health and education. As your representative, I am asking you to nominate a woman from the 20th Assembly district who deserves recognition.
Past Woman of the Year Honorees
2014 WOMAN OF THE YEAR - Hafsa Burt
Hafsa Burt is a successful business owner very accomplished in her profession, a very involved community leader looking to make positive collaborative changes and a very devoted mother. She started her own architecture firm in Castro Valley in 2004 and recently expanded to San Francisco. Active in Rotary she has served as president of her local chapter and is currently working on the district level. She is involved in the Castro Valley Education Foundation and the Eden Area Livability Initiative. Her personal passion is Environmental Sustainability and she is the liaison for the State US Green Building Council.
2015 WOMAN OF THE YEAR - Gail Steele
Before starting her career as a public servant Ms. Steele helped lead the successful Friends of the Hayward Animal Shelter program. She has been a member of the League of Women Voters Eden Area for almost 50 years and is very involved in numerous organizations.
Ms. Gail Steele began her political career as a member of the Hayward City Council serving from 1974 to 1982. While on the City Council she led efforts to encourage the responsible growth of the city’s housing market. Ms. Steele is an advocate for libraries and helped raise over $600,000 to expand the Hayward Weekes Branch Library. She also created the annual Hayward Volunteer Dinner to recognize individuals who volunteer in the region.
While on the Council she founded the Eden Youth Center for which she served as Board President and then as their Executive Director from 1979-1992 and continues to sit on the board to this day.
Elected to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 1992 she represented District 2 for eighteen years. While on the Board of Supervisors, Ms. Steele conceived the Children’s Memorial Grove and Flag project, which honors children who have died victims of domestic violence.
2016 WOMAN OF THE YEAR - Pat Gacoscos
Ms. Pat Gacoscos is known in the 20th Assembly District as a leader in education and cultural awareness. She retired from a successful career as a Research Analyst from the State of California in 2014. She is married with two children and two grandchildren. She is an active member of the Friends of Chabot College Foundation, New Haven Schools Foundation, FUN Rotary, St. Anne Pastoral Council, Union City Chamber of Commerce, Asian American Federation, and Anac Ti Santiago USA.
Ms. Gacoscos started her community involvement in 1980 volunteering with the Filipino-American United Catholics of the East Bay, a church-affiliated Fil-Am organization. The experience became a stepping stone for her to become active in countless other organizations, including the Filipino-American Council, school site council, and the Human Relations Commissions for Union City and Alameda County. She also served as President of the Fil-Am Council of Union City, one of the largest Filipino-American organizations. There she successfully advocated on behalf of Filipino youth and seniors to increase community services and support.
Ms. Gacoscos is an advocate for education, which stems from being a classroom teacher in the Philippines before immigrating to the United State in 1973. In 1992, Ms. Gacoscos was elected as a Trustee to the New Haven Unified School District, where she served two terms. During that time, she helped convert the large high school into ‘smaller houses,’ opened school based health clinics, and helped introduce new language courses which reflect the major languages spoken by the diverse population of Union City. This resulted in the opening of the Language Laboratory at James Logan High School, which is a model program for the country.
While serving as Chair of the Union City Human Relations Commission, she formed a subcommittee called the Union City Friends of Sister Cities (UCFSC). With the help of UCFSC, the number of sister cities grew from three to seven. The main project of UCFSC is to showcase the culture of each Sister City country during an annual festival. At this popular event, attendees enjoy the food, crafts, music, and dance from the sister city countries of Afghanistan, China, India, Mexico, Philippines, and Thailand.
In 2004, Ms. Gacoscos was elected to the Union Sanitary District Board, where she served for six years. In 2010, she was elected to the Union City Council, where she successfully won reelection in 2014. In addition to her civic participation she is a dedicated community member who volunteers her time to many great causes. For her work she has been named a Union City Local Hero, Community Spirit Award Recipient, Women Trailblazer, Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, and was recognized as one of the U.S. 100 Most Influential Filipino Women.