Angelique Ashby was 20 and single when her first child was born, making paying for college and law school a struggle. The section of Sacramento where Ashby and her son Nate lived wasn’t exactly teeming with kids, so she made friends volunteering with the neighborhood association. That led to her first foray into political activity: leading the push to install a stop sign at a dangerous intersection.
After working on other issues, Ashby decided to run for a seat on the city council, where the scope of her efforts to help her community would be far greater. She won, and last year she helped lobby Congress to approve $1 billion in levee repairs, which has jump-started development in her part of town. Ashby has gone from being an upstart who unseated a long-time incumbent to running unopposed for her second term last year. Having had her third child while in office, she’s become a role model for women who want to talk with her about how to balance family and careers. Ashby says her own inspiration came from her dad, who spent a long career working on children’s issues.
“There’s no greater compliment than someone saying that because of something you did, they’re willing to give something a try,” Ashby says.