Councilmember Rios has been a Norwalk resident since 1989. She is a proud wife, mother and grandmother. Elected in 2017 with almost 64% of the vote for her seat, Councilmember Rios is the first Latina to serve on the council since 1992. Margarita was raised by a single mother and grandparents, Norwalk residents of over 50 years. Her early education included Edmondson Elementary and Waite Middle Schools. Councilmember Rios attended Cerritos College, earning her Associate’s Degree before transferring to California State University, Long Beach. Councilmember Rios graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and minor in Psychology. Upon graduating from CSULB Margarita received the Jeannie Eisentraut award for Outstanding Female Graduate of the Criminal Justice Department.
With her family’s encouragement and support, Margarita accomplished her goal of pursuing a career in law enforcement. Councilmember Rios currently holds the position of sergeant with the Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department, assigned to the Investigative Services Division. Margarita’s training and experience have made her an expert on public safety, at-risk youth, and safe communities. During her nearly two decades of law enforcement experience, her assignments included criminal investigations, background investigator, and school resource officer.
Councilmember Rios has an extensive history of community service and accomplishment. For seven years, she served on the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District Board of Education. During her tenure as a Board Member, she successfully completed the California School Board Association, Masters in Governance program. She also led the effort in a successful school bond campaign, Measure G, to increase equal access and opportunities for all students and to close the achievement gap, opening the way to greater learning through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), Project Lead the Way (PLTW), college and career readiness, and music and the arts. During her tenure on the Board, the rates of high school graduation increased.
Margarita also served on the Southeast ROP Board from 2009 to 2013 and 2015 to 2017, representing the interests of career-technical classes for adults and Southeast Academy High School. During her service, she succeeded in establishing equitable and increased access to career-technical opportunities for NLMUSD students, and helped to establish articulation agreements with Cerritos College for the Norwalk High School Culinary program and John Glenn High School Student in the Law program.
Margarita has also served on the Community Promotion Commission, has been a member of the Norwalk League of United Latin American (LULAC 3148), Norwalk Coordinating Council, PTA, and the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO). Valuing the opportunity to build positive relationships and improve her community, she volunteers as a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain, working to maintain safe, clean neighborhoods.
Councilmember Rios has always felt the obligation to serve the community and has chosen to serve and contribute in any way possible. She aspires to make a positive difference in the life of others, and create positive sustainable change for the Norwalk community.
Councilmember Rios’ top priorities are Public Safety, Economic Development, and strengthening the Norwalk Education Alliance. Her goal is to close the divide between the community and city hall by working closely with all residents to increase community engagement, build trust, and establish strong collaborative relationships. Councilmember Rios’ vision for Norwalk includes becoming a model city, a “community connected”, in which all current and future residents enjoy a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous life.