2003 Inductee - Louisa L. Birrueta

2003 Inductee - Louisa L. Birrueta

Women’s Issues

Louisa Birrueta has been executive director of the Mexican American Chamber of Commerce for three years. She was one of Senator Patrick Johnston’s most important staff members for many years. She served the city of Stockton for 10 years before working with Johnston and retired after 30 years o work with the State Public Employees Retirement System. “I thought I’d retire and spend all my time with my grandson, but everyone said, “No, Louisa, you’d be bored in six weeks, and besides, God is not finished with you.”

Since June 2000 Birrueta has directed the activities of the San Joaquin County Mexican American Chamber of Commerce. Her highlights have been organizing the chamber’s first Latina Business Women’s Luncheon and helping to develop the chamber’s quarterly newsletter, The Business Journal. “I found that there are many dynamic Latina business women who are members of this chamber who could be used as role models for other aspiring Latina women. I wanted to create some avenue for these business women to start talking in front of an audience and tell their success stories and most of all to serve as Latina role models for other women.” Over 200 women from throughout the county attended the 2003 luncheon.

Louisa’s main goal was to increase the membership, become more politically involved with city, county, state and federal elected officials on issues that affect the Latino community; collaborate with major community based organizations such as the Council for the Spanish Speaking, LULAC, the Coalition of Mexican Americans (COMA), in order to strengthen and foster the growth and development of the Latino community and to ensure the best possible business opportunities for Latino entrepreneurs.

“She has always been the person getting the work done quietly. She was always sincere, always dedicated to her community,” stated Ron Lopstain, a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce member. Louisa’s career of service started with a ten year run with the city of Stockton that started in 1971, after she attended Humphrey’s Business College and Delta College. In 1981 she joined the staff of then assemblyman Patrick Johnston. She was his executive assistant and liaison into the Latino community. When Johnston became a state senator in 1991, Birrueta stayed with him as his district representative. She continued her job as liaison into the Latino community for another ten years, for a total of twenty years.

Birrueta’s decades of political experience have helped her to become an effective political and community activist. As a member of the California Latino Caucus she assisted in organizing the San Joaquin County Latina Women’s Conference in 1986. She was on the Women’s Center of San Joaquin County’s board of directors. She served as president in 1994-5 for the Hispanics for Political Action (HPA). She also has been involved with El Mercado Coalition and the Mexican Heritage Center.