Karina Quintanilla


Karina Quintanilla (she/her/hers) has been a Coachella Valley resident since 1984 and made history in Palm Desert by becoming the first Latina and youngest woman elected in 2020. She earned a BA in Spanish from the University of California, Riverside. Her career in education fine tuned her understanding of community needs. She has worked in different capacities, serving students from K-12 to PhDs. She has paused her Master’s in Public Administration to give her full attention to the community she serves.

In 2015, Karina was selected by Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) for their Leadership Institute where she honed her community engagement and leadership skills. Through HOPE, Karina and her fellow participants lobbied State Senators in Sacramento to pass Senate Bill 4, Health For All, bringing accessible healthcare to all Californians, as well as Senate Bill 15, which redirected unused funds for Cal-Grant Scholarships. HOPE demystified the electoral process and confirmed that Karina could run for office, and she won 61% of the vote.

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