Every job, and it seems every endeavor, up to this point in her life has prepared Susan Talamantes Eggman for her new role as a member of the California State Assembly.
U.S. Army veteran. Social worker. College professor. City Council member.
The military taught her teamwork and leadership. Being a mental health provider and medical social worker helped her develop her listening skills and expand her empathy. Teaching taught her how to deliver information effectively. And serving on the Stockton City Council provided experience working with others, running meetings, and making decisions that have a major impact on people’s lives.
“I bring all those components to the job I’m doing,” said Eggman in a recent interview. “I feel like my whole life has prepared me for now.”
With such a rich resume, it is no surprise that the Turlock native is quickly asserting herself in state politics. Since being elected in November, Eggman (D-Stockton) has become a key advocate for issues that have been at the core of the Central Valley for years, including agriculture, public safety, job growth, and education.
The first Latina to ever be elected to the Stockton City Council is embracing her new role as she continues her fight to improve the quality of life in the 13th Assembly District, which includes Stockton, Tracy, Mountain House, and Thornton.
“My main goal is to represent my district as best I can,” Eggman said.
An Active Advocate
In her first six months on the job, Eggman has sponsored or co-sponsored 17 bills, including ones that would allow parole violators to be returned to state prison and allow crime victims to have access to their crime reports regardless of their legal status.
She has also teamed up with other area legislators advocating for the halt of a controversial Delta conservation plan and joined a bipartisan group calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to address a disparity in funding to counties, which now are responsible for thousands of inmates who come from the state.
In addition to her efforts involving legislation, Eggman chairs the State Assembly Agriculture Committee and serves on the Appropriations, Veterans Affairs, and Business, Professions and Consumer Protection committees.
Central Valley Roots
Born on a small farm in Turlock that grew almonds and cultivated bee hives, Eggman comes from a family that has been farming for three generations and continues to do so today. Agriculture is as much a part of her roots as it is the Central Valley’s.
Those childhood experiences of riding through open space and farmland on horseback, and seeing her father and brother tend the orchard and hives, are not far from her memory as she leads committee discussions involving crucial agricultural issues.
“We all bring our life experience to our work,” Eggman said.
After high school, Eggman left the farm and joined the Army, serving four years as a medic. She went on to attend California State University, Stanislaus, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in social work. She later received a Ph.D. from Portland State University and taught social work at CSU, Sacramento. She has taken a leave of absence to serve on the State Assembly.
While a member of the Stockton City Council, Eggman worked to improve access to healthcare, expand educational opportunities, and address crime. She also served as chairwoman of board of directors for the nonprofit El Concilio, which provides numerous community services in English and Spanish.
Eggman’s fight to improve life in Stockton and surrounding areas continues at the state level.
“I think our area needs strong representation, and I hope to be that voice,” she said.