First Supervisorial District Staff

 (in alphabetical order)

Devonna N. Almagro Headshot

Devonna N. Almagro
Director of Communications and Binational Affairs

A seasoned communications and political strategist, Devonna Almagro brings two decades of experience working at the intersection of communications, community, and politics.

A bilingual and bicultural professional, Devonna has developed successful grassroots communications and outreach programs for clients in the private and public sector. Her expertise in creating and employing multi-layered outreach, has allowed her to fully engage diverse segments of the community to build public understanding and broad constituent participation for clients’ initiatives.

Devonna most recently served as Principal for Ilumina Public Relations, a boutique communications firm that specializes in integrated strategic communications for nonprofits, businesses, candidates, as well as political and community campaigns. Prior to founding her own practice, she served as Director of Communications and Community Relations for HPLE, Inc. where she managed a portfolio of education clients with publicly funded school infrastructure projects in Los Angeles County.

Devonna began her career serving as an aide to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, followed by working field operations for candidates and initiatives throughout Southern California. After a decade working in the political arena, Devonna joined Marston + Marston, Inc. in 2008, where she led public affairs programs and assisted school districts in designing comprehensive communications strategy for high-profile, bond-funded redevelopment projects in San Diego County. She then served as Executive Director of the Sherman Heights Community Center, a nonprofit organization with a 30-year history of serving the District 1 communities of Sherman Heights, Logan Heights, Barrio Logan and surrounding neighborhoods.

Born and raised in the border cities of Calexico, CA and Mexicali, Baja California, Devonna has called San Diego home for the past 23 years after pursuing a dual bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies and Spanish from the University of San Diego. She is an active member of the community and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Sherman Heights Community Center, Chicano Federation Action Fund, and Latina Democratic Club. Devonna has earned recognition for her leadership and civic engagement by the City of San Diego and was named a 2017 Woman of the Year honoree for the 80th Assembly District by the California Legislature.

Nidia Castaneda

Nidia Castaneda
Executive Administrator

Before joining the Office of Supervisor Vargas, Nidia served as the Executive Administrator for Chicano Federation of San Diego where she provided support to the organization's CEO and Board of Directors. 

Prior to joining Chicano Federation, Nidia was the Director of Business Consulting and Management for Grassroots Resources, a campaign management company. Nidia was responsible for managing clients' business and community outreach, while building relationships with clients. 

Previously, Nidia held an 11-year career in banking and finance with Wells Fargo Bank, overseeing small to large banking locations across San Diego County. 

Born in Tijuana, B.C, and raised in Chula Vista, Ca, Nidia attended local schools, graduating with honors from Chula Vista High School’s School of Creative and Performing Arts. Nidia attended Southwestern College and completed the EMT program and studied Finance. 

Nidia lives in Chula Vista with her son, Armando and keeps active in politics and her community serving as a board member to the Latina Democratic Club.

 

Mabi Castro Headshot

Mabi Jalit Castro
Director of Public Policy

Mabi is a passionate advocate of women’s rights with a strong background in public policy and the healthcare space. Before joining Supervisor Vargas in the County of San Diego, Mabi served as the Community and Government Relations Manager for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest

Prior to Planned Parenthood, Mabi worked with top hospital executives to understand their challenges and identify solutions that could improve patient health and decrease readmission rates. Her commitment to social justice compelled her to work for the California State Senate and Assembly as a Legislative Analyst and Community Representative respectively, where she advised on policy issues ranging from education, natural resources and water, international affairs, veterans’ issues, and health.

Mabi obtained a B.A. in International Development from UCLA and an M.A. in International Politics from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Through her studies, Mabi had the opportunity to live in Yucatán, Mexico where she researched health and sustainability trends in Mayan communities. She also lived in Geneva, Switzerland where she collaborated with the International Labor Organization and the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN on child labor issues. 

Mabi is proud of her seamless upbringing between Mexico and the U.S. and acknowledges she is a byproduct of her community, which is what drives her to build on that work for future generations. 

Andrew Feaster Headshot

Andrew Feaster
Senior Advisor for Public Policy & Equitable Reform

Andrew is a strong advocate for the under-represented and indigent population in San Diego County. As a San Diego native, Andrew attended Eastlake High School and Southwestern Community College before ultimately obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from San Diego State University. While at San Diego State University, Andrew was a scholar-athlete on the collegiate football team. He went on to attended California Western School of Law before passing the California Bar Exam.

Previously, Andrew worked as a Deputy Public Defender for the County of San Diego, where he was a passionate and dedicated advocate to his clients. As an attorney, with a background in criminal law, Andrew is dedicated to finding equitable solutions to improve his community.

Andrew also serves his community as a former board member of Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association and he currently serves veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress as a board of director for The Wave Academy.

Denise Garcia Headshot

Denice Garcia
Chief of Staff

Denice was born in Tijuana, Mexico and raised in San Diego, California. Growing up in a dynamic border town had a strong influence on her desire to pursue a career in government and international relations. Through her work and civic commitments, she became passionate about binational issues and Latino business community empowerment.

Before joining the Office of Supervisor Vargas, Denice served as the Director of International Affairs for Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer for the City of San Diego and Deputy Director of the Department of Government Affairs. Denice’s portfolio included U.S. – Mexico relations, International Affairs and Immigration Policy. She led the Welcoming San Diego Initiative with a steering committee, and through this initiative she secured the first Immigrant Affairs position for the City of San Diego. She previously served as Director of Community Outreach and Economic Development for San Diego Councilman Mark Kersey, helping to establish a new bi-national focus for his office. Prior to that, she worked in the Office of Mayor Jerry Sanders in the City of San Diego as Director of Boards and Commissions and Protocol/Binational Affairs.

Before embarking on her civic career, Denice worked as Events and Corporate Relations Manager for the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and as Special Projects Director at Latino Literacy Now/Edward James Olmos Latino Book and Family Festival. She executed the first annual National Latino Literacy Day and Folklorico Championships for the organization.

Denice received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration as a National Urban Fellow at CUNY in New York City. She is also a graduate of San Diego State University, with a degree in International Business, an emphasis in Latin America and Spanish, and a minor in Psychology. She studied at the Universidad de Salamanca, Spain.

Her professional development includes current Board Member of the Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Board Member of the New Americans Museum, Board Member of Create Purpose, Board Member of SIMNSA Fundacion A.C., past Legislative Chair and Honorary President of the National Latina Business Women Association, San Diego Chapter, a graduate from LEAD San Diego's IMPACT program (2010) and a graduate of the H.O.P.E Leadership Institute (2009), from Hispanas Organized for Political Equality. She recently received the South County EDC, 2017 Binational Endeavor Award and in 2016 received the Bridge Builder Award from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Andrew Harvey

Andrew Harvey
Community Representative

Andrew holds a bachelor's degree in Spanish from the University of Mississippi. After college, he moved to San Diego to be closer to his family in Tijuana and throughout Southern California. Andrew's interest in community organizing and local government grew as he volunteered for several local political campaigns. Since then, Andrew has been focused on building a career in civic service and advocacy. 

Andrew previously served as Community Coordinator for Chicano Federation where he worked on a number of programs including Census participation and voter registration initiatives. 

Ruth Martin Headshot

Ruth Martin
Policy Advisor - Health Care Equity

Ruth grew up in the community of Logan Heights and is passionate about public service and giving back to her community. She has eight years of experience working for a local government. Prior to joining Supervisor Vargas’ office, she worked for the San Diego City Council President, where she served as the Rules Committee Consultant and help advanced policies that created a more transparent, accountable and equitable government as well as advised on the city’s annual budget. Her experience at the City of San Diego also includes working for a member of the San Diego City Council for the Eight Council District, where she served in various capacities: as an Executive Assistant, Council Representative and Policy Advisor.

During her time at the City of San Diego, she successfully advanced much needed community capital projects and policy proposals as well as advised on a variety of policy areas including housing, transportation, infrastructure, homelessness and the city’s annual budget.

Ruth is a graduate from the University of California San Diego, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Studies: Political Science and a minor in Public Service with an emphasis in Government.

Ruth serves as a Policy Advisor for Supervisor Vargas primarily focused on health care policies to create health equity for all San Diego County residents.

Rosa Olascoaga Headshot

Rosa Olascoaga Vidal
Policy Advisor - Transportation and Housing

Rosa Olascoaga Vidal was born and raised in City Heights, San Diego. Rosa first got involved in organizing when she was twelve years old with Mid City CAN's Youth Council. As a student leader, Rosa introduced the First Lady Michelle Obama in her San Diego visit to launch her Let’s Move Campaign. In high school, Rosa's first campaign win was successfully getting City Heights a skatepark and plaza.

In 2018, Rosa graduated from the University of San Francisco with a B.A in Politics and minors in Legal Studies and Chicanx & Latinx studies. Before joining Supervisor Nora Vargas’s office, Rosa was the transportation justice organizer at Mid-City CAN. She developed and implemented the organizing, political, and digital strategies for the Improving Transportation Momentum Team. Rosa is committed to advocating for equitable community- led polices that address climate and racial justice.

Currently, Rosa is a resident of Paradise Hills. She represents District 4 in San Diego's

Mobility Board and a board member for Climate Action Campaign. Rosa is an alum of the Rockwood Leadership Institute. 

Griselda Ramirez Headshot

Griselda Ramirez
Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships

Griselda is a Los Angeles native and a graduate of California State University Fullerton, where she earned a degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Griselda has spent the last decade working in social justice and civic areas from political campaigns, fighting for worker rights, to getting involved with several community organizations. Before joining the Office of Supervisor Vargas, Griselda led the civic engagement work for Mid-City Community Advocacy Network in City Heights, as the Director of Civic Engagement she built a successful grassroots civic engagement program that successfully increased voter turnout in City Heights.

Griselda also served as a Commissioner for the Leon L. Williams San Diego County Human Relations Commission. She is an alumnus of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality Leadership Institute, LEAD Advance, RISE San Diego, MANA de San Diego LSLP, and Movement School.

Her mission in life is to bring resources to those who need them and help build a culture of voters in her community. Griselda serves on several non-profit boards including, Run Women Run, Peoples Legal Services and is the President of the Latina Democratic Club. Griselda's inspiration comes from her family and friends, life experiences, and traveling.

Ryan Trabuco Headshot

Ryan Trabuco
Community Representative

Ryan’s work as a Community Representative is rooted in his passion for elevating our neighborhoods. He is the President Emeritus of the Clairemont Town Council and helped promote the civic, commercial, educational, and cultural activities of one of San Diego’s largest communities.

Prior to his current role, he worked for the President pro Tempore of the California State Senate and for an Orange County Supervisor. He served two terms on San Diego County’s Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board (now the Behavioral Health Advisory Board), and as a Juvenile Justice Commissioner.

Ryan is a graduate of the Young Professionals Council Academy at the San Diego LGBT Community Center.