A LIFETIME OF SERVICE
Joseph’s grandparents immigrated to California from Mexico to labor in tomato fields and canneries in the 1960s. Through hard work and determination, they were able to build opportunities for their family. Joseph’s mother struggled with addiction, so he spent most of his childhood living with his father, who raised a family of five in Riverside on a truck driver’s salary.
But when Joseph came out as gay at 17, he had to move out. Though his early years were marked by hardship, trauma, and homelessness as a teenager, Joseph excelled in school, and worked part-time as a dishwasher to support himself in high school.
Joseph joined the Navy on his eighteenth birthday, quickly advancing to become a bomb dog handler, tracking down explosives in the Persian Gulf. After he was discharged under 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,' he became a leading advocate for repeal, swearing he would re-enlist and keep fighting to protect his country, as soon as it would let him.
While he fought for repeal, Joseph graduated from San Diego City College, and then the University of San Diego, and the University of San Francisco School of Law. Following the repeal of 'Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,' Joseph kept his word, rising to the rank of a Marine Corps Captain and military prosecutor, working to bring criminals to justice in cases including rape, domestic abuse, and child predators. He earned the Commandant’s Award for Excellence in Legal Assistance, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (second award).
Joseph knows the struggles that many families across California face. Now, he’s running for Assembly to tackle the toughest challenges confronting our communities — including gun violence and public safety, our housing and homelessness crises, access to reproductive freedom and healthcare, the rising cost of living and threats to equality and justice for all.
In the Assembly, Joseph will lead with the same sense of duty and service that has guided him his entire life, from childhood to the military to the courtroom. Joseph knows our struggles and will get things done for our communities.
Currently, Joseph serves as a Marine Corps Reserves Officer. He lives in Escondido with his dog Bear.