Capitol Weekly’s Top 100: Erika Contreras

Erika Contreras. Illustration by Chris Shary

19. Erika Contreras

Erika Contreras is the secretary of the Senate, which means she’s the house’s chief administrator. She has virtually no public profile, but she is well known in the Capitol, not least because she is the first Latina to ever hold the office and the first woman to hold the post in a century. Contreras, a UC Santa Barbara graduate, was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico and raised in the San Fernando Valley. She has worked in the Capitol in various staff positions since 2003, and was appointed Senate secretary in 2018 via a vote of the membership. A Senate secretary wears a lot of hats, and Contreras is no exception. She’s involved in politics and policy and answers to the Senate Rules Committee, the five-member panel that administers the house. She’s part personnel director, part adviser, part soother of wounded feelings, part go-between for an array of interests and lawmakers. Basically, the secretary of the Senate seems to get involved in everything and makes sure the house runs smoothly.

Updated Aug. 9, 2022

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