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Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara pays tribute to the legacy of environmental champion Cindy Montañez

News: 2023 Press Release

For Release: October 23, 2023
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara pays tribute to the legacy of environmental champion Cindy Montañez

Los Angeles – Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today issued the following statement honoring the remarkable life and legacy of the late Cindy Montañez, a former member of the San Fernando City Council and California State Assembly who went on to lead TreePeople:

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of former State Assembly Member Cindy Montañez, a true trailblazer. Cindy's life was a testament to resilience and unwavering commitment to environmental justice and our Latino community.

“During a time when Legislators of color weren’t included in the climate change debate, Cindy broke the “Green Ceiling.’ She recognized the disproportionate impact of climate change on communities of color, including Latinos, and made it her mission to advocate for change.

"Cindy once said to me ’If the environmental movement is going to survive, it must learn Spanish and look like us. Get in there and take over the entire agenda.’ Thank you, Cindy, for giving me the courage to do just that.

“Her vision and dedication will inspire generations to come.

“Cindy's journey was nothing short of remarkable. As the daughter of immigrants, she inspired change by participating in a hunger strike that led to the establishment of a Chicano Studies department at UCLA. Her journey led her to the San Fernando City Council and, at the age of 28, to become the youngest woman ever elected to the California State Assembly. As a staffer for Assembly Member Marco Firebaugh, I saw her passion for people in action. Her grit and determination was inspirational.

“But Cindy's legacy goes beyond her political achievements. She was a pioneer in environmental advocacy, planting the seeds of change alongside her family and working to green Los Angeles's electrical grid. As Chief Executive of TreePeople, she became one of the few Latinas at the helm of a major U.S. environmental nonprofit.

“We celebrate Cindy Montañez's life and remember her indomitable spirit, passion for social justice, and unwavering commitment to a more just and sustainable world. Let us continue her important work in her memory.”


Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.

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