Joseph Rocha

California State Assembly

Joseph will be an important voice for equality in the California State Assembly!


Joseph’s grandparents immigrated to California from Mexico to labor in tomato fields and canneries in the 1960s. Through hard work and determination, they climbed into the middle class to build opportunities for their family. Joseph’s mother struggled with addiction, so he spent most of his childhood living with his father, who raised a family of five in Riverside on a truck driver’s salary.

But when Joseph came out as gay at 17, he had to move out. Though his early years were marked by hardship, trauma, and housing insecurity, Joseph excelled in school, and worked part-time as a dishwasher.

Joseph joined the Navy on his eighteenth birthday, quickly advancing to become a bomb dog handler, tracking down explosives in the Persian Gulf. After he was discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ he became an advocate for repeal, swearing he would re-enlist and keep fighting to protect his country, as soon as it would let him.

While he fought for repeal, Joseph graduated from San Diego City College, and then the University of San Diego, and the University of San Francisco School of Law. Following the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ Joseph kept his word, rising to the rank of a Marine Corps Captain and prosecutor, continuing to fight for justice. As a Marine Judge Advocate he earned the Commandant’s Award for Excellence in Legal Assistance, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (second award).

Now, Joseph is running for State Assembly out of the same sense of duty and service that has guided him his entire life. Joseph will fight for the hardworking people who have too often been left behind by career politicians who only look out for themselves.

Joseph lives in Escondido with his dog Daytwa.