By Jillian Foster,
Lia Lopez is no stranger to Davis streets. She has lived here since she was six months old, and went to grade school, high school and college in Davis.
Today, Lopez remains in town with her husband and two children, and works in the capitol building in Sacramento for the California State Assembly as the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer. She has been working in the Assembly since 1997 and began her career for the state via an internship right after college. Over the course of the next 18 years, Lopez held jobs of increasing responsibility leading to her current position.
At the capitol, Lopez works as part of the administrative arm of the Assembly Rules Committee.
“Working for the legislature, I have learned skills: politics, policy making and process. It’s exciting working in the administrative branch because it blends all three of these skills, and every day I learn new things and am challenged. It’s fun to be a problem solver,” the Davis High alumna said.
When she started the Assembly job, Lopez was no stranger to the capitol building; her father also worked in the state legislature and she had been visiting the building since she was a little girl.
Though her father played a large role in her current profession, Lopez has always been interested in the political process. In high school, Lopez said her favorite class was AP Politics, which challenged her to think outside the box her senior year.
While at DHS, Lopez was on the women’s varsity soccer team from sophomore to senior year and the women’s JV volleyball team sophomore year. Her years as a student-athlete led her to become a coach, and coaching is a management philosophy she can apply to her role as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer.
“Going to DHS has given me a sense of community. I am still in touch with many of my friends from DHS, and I will always feel comfortable in Davis,” Lopez said.
After high school, Lopez went on to get a master’s degree in public administration and degrees in political science and history from UC Davis.
She and her husband met at freshman orientation, became good friends and eventually got married.
“I think she is amazing and a quite accomplished DHS alumni. She is truly my better half,” said husband Alan Fernandes, the current president of the Davis School Board.
Today, Lopez spends her free time as a soccer coach for the local recreational league, coaching her children, scrap booking and hanging out with friends she has kept from her time at DHS.
“Once a Blue Devil, always a Blue Devil. I take my kids to the football and basketball games all the time,” she said.