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In high school, she was given an IQ test on which she scored a 27 out of and was subsequently labelled as mentally disabled. This low score inspired Marin to work hard to learn the language which she accomplished in part by listening to songs on the radio and repeating the words. By , she was in the top 20 out of a class of and graduated with honors. Marin's family had initially wanted her to forgo any further education and get a job in order to help out the family financially as well as help her mother care for her siblings.

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Marin compromised by working during the day and attending East Los Angeles College at night. Marin originally embarked upon a business and financial career.


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After several promotions, Marin was poised for elevation to assistant vice president of the bank. However, in her son Eric was born with Down Syndrome and she quit her job the following year in order to care for him.

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Her son's condition inspired Marin to become an advocate for the mentally disabled. During this time, she founded the first support group for Latino parents with Down's children as well as Fuerza "Force" , an organization dedicated to providing services and support to mentally disabled children, and lobbied state officials in Sacramento on their behalf. Marin's efforts came to the notice of state officials and, in , she was appointed the chief of Legislative Affairs for the Department of Developmental Services by Governor Pete Wilson.

At DDS, Marin worked for legislation to benefit the mentally challenged.

Leading Between Two Worlds

Two years later, Marin was named chair of the Council on Developmental Disabilities where she continued to advocate for the mentally disabled and their families. Finally, in , Marin was appointed the assistant deputy director for the Department of Social Services. In addition to her public advocacy work, Marin became politically involved. Additionally, Marin was inspired by what she felt she shared with the ideology of President Ronald Reagan : "Personal responsibility.

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Strong national defense. In , while still working in the Wilson Administration, Marin ran for a city council seat in Huntington Park and won. She served seven years on the council, including a term as mayor from to — the first Hispanic to hold that post in the city's history. She also instituted a task force to combat air pollution in response to a government study that listed Huntington Park as one of several communities particularly at risk and launched a crackdown on a black market for illegal documentation.

Despite her political registration, Marin was overwhelmingly re-elected to the council in Marin was also known for being a tough and, sometimes, divisive participant of council meetings. Opponents accused her of raucous behavior, while even allies acknowledged a certain arrogance. In , she was censured by the council for being rude toward fellow councilmembers and citizens alike. Her improbable victory, they point out, was due to "misrepresenting her true political leanings" and a "savvy use of the Spanish media.

Marin continued to work for Governor Wilson for the first few years of her time on the council.

Leading Between Two Worlds | Book by Rosario Marin | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

In , she was named deputy director of the governor's Office of Community Relations in Los Angeles. As the public face of the Administration to Hispanics , Marin had to deal with the tricky subject of Proposition and other anti-illegal immigration topics which were the subject of heated debate among the community. During this time, Marin served as an officer on several commissions such as president of the Mayors and Councils Department of the League of California Cities , vice-chair of the Latino Caucus, and chair of the Southeast Community Development Corporation.


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Kennedy School of Government 's program for senior executives in state and local government. Marin continued to bolster her Republican credentials. At the state level, she served as a California delegate to the Republican National Convention. On the national scene, Marin was an ardent supporter of George W. Bush's presidential run in While mayor, she had met the Texas governor and volunteered in his campaign effort in California working on Hispanic outreach and acting as its Spanish-speaking surrogate.

Shortly after his election, Marin was featured prominently among the president-elect's circle. She was confirmed by the U. Senate on August 3 and resigned from her city council post three days later. Marin was sworn in on August 16, Jack Nelson. Danielle Allen. Costa Nzaramba Ndayisabye.

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