The courage to lead
Janessa was born and raised in San Diego County and has built her career around creating a safer and more equitable world for all.
The daughter of a public school teacher and a tow truck driver, Janessa attended public schools, played sports, and wrote for her high school paper. She graduated from Northwestern University and moved to Washington, DC, to advocate for policies to stop the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. In 2012, Janessa was recognized by Diplomatic Courier magazine as one of the “Top 99 Foreign Policy Professionals Under 33.”
When Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed, Janessa - an out, queer woman - knew it was time for her to do something she always dreamed of: join the military and serve our country. She was trained as a Combat Engineer officer and deployed to Eastern Europe, leading troops alongside our NATO allies.
Janessa is running for Congress in California's 53rd district to fight for bold, progressive solutions that make a difference in the lives of San Diegans, and to restore a sense of pride - rooted in our values - to Washington.
During her time in service, Janessa also served as a Uniformed Victim Advocate, providing essential support and care to Marines who had experienced sexual assault. She rose to the rank of Captain and was twice awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
When her mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s Disease, Janessa cut short her Marine Corps career and returned to her hometown to care for her. Once back in San Diego, Janessa started a small business to help non-profit organizations advocate for bold, progressive change in Washington.
Janessa is now running for Congress to serve her country in a new capacity and to be the representative our community deserves. She will listen, ensure more voices are heard in Washington and fight for solutions that make a real difference for all San Diegans.
Janessa lives in Talmadge with her rescue dog, Koa. She is an active Rotarian, a co-founder of the San Diego chapter of the Truman National Security Project, and an avid cyclist, hiker, and paddleboarder.