About James Ramos
Assemblymember James C. Ramos, a lifelong resident of the San Manuel Indian Reservation in San Bernardino County, is a member of the Serrano/Cahuilla tribe.
Ramos, the first California Native American to serve in the California State Assembly, was elected to represent residents of the 40th District on November 6, 2018. His district includes the cities of Highland, Loma Linda, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, and San Bernardino.
As a child, he lived with his family in a mobile home in one of the most poverty-stricken areas in San Bernardino County. To help support his family while attending school, he worked in fast food restaurants and as a janitor in the San Bernardino City Unified School District. Ramos went to local public schools and graduated from San Gorgonio High School. He understood the importance of education. He received an Associate of Arts degree in business at Victor Valley College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting at California State University, San Bernardino, and a Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Redlands.
Ramos’ commitment to public service led to a number of firsts: first Native American appointed to the State Board of Education; first Indian to serve on the San Bernardino Community College Board of Trustees; first Native American elected to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and later first Native American board chair.
He is also a former chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Ramos’s wide range of experience and knowledge of local and regional issues is complemented by his unique ability to bring Republicans and Democrats together to collaborate on controversial issues. It also led to an appointment by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California State Native American Heritage Commission. Governor Jerry Brown named him to the State Board of Education in 2011.
In Ramos’s first term in the Assembly, he championed mental health issues such as bullying and suicide prevention before COVID-19 exacerbated the mental health crisis.
As a small business owner he understands first-hand the importance of entrepreneurship and the critical role small businesses play in California’s economy plus their part in the economic recovery during the pandemic. He worked with small business advocates on laws to protect businesses during COVID-19. He also called for an audit of EDD after hearing reports of fraud and workers not getting the help they needed.
Ramos has been a strong advocate of public safety and fought to protect crime victims. He is backed by Sheriff John McMahon, Crime Victims United, and major law enforcement groups -they can trust him to keep communities safe.
Ramos is adamant about protecting the health and well-being of Californians and slowing the spread of Coronavirus. He has fought to expand access to health care during this crisis and worked to increase funding for protective equipment, so hospitals and frontline workers have the resources they need to fight the virus.
Ramos’s dedication to the region includes service on numerous boards and organizations that promote economic, health and educational opportunities. He has served on the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Arrowhead United Way, the KCVR (public television) Foundation for Education and many other groups.
His deep commitment to preserving Native American culture also led him to co-found the San Manuel Band’s Cultural Awareness Program and serve as director of the California Indian Cultural Awareness Conference held annually in conjunction with Cal State San Bernardino.
James is married to Terri Ramos, his high school sweetheart, for 31 years. They are the proud parents of four children and three grandchildren.