A Lifetime Built to Serve

I was born at Naval Hospital Oakland while my father was deployed in Vietnam. After his retirement – serving 24 years in the U.S. Navy– my family settled in the Sunnyvale, California. As a balance, my mother worked 30 years in “high-tech” – part of the rapid, ever-changing growth of the Silicon Valley.

As a child, my life was directly affected by this dynamic growth. In any one day, I could be riding my bike past acres upon acres of fruit trees, then programming in Basic on a brand new computer. The land of apple orchards transitioned to the land of Apple Computer. By the time I started at Homestead High School – alma mater to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak – almost all the fruit trees were gone. The transition was significant. Growing up Silicon Valley during the birth of the “Information Technology Revolution” was something profound. The lesson learned: growth was going to happen. If ever in a position to affect it, I want to be conscientious about how it is done.

Growth happened rapidly in my life, as well. Over the next few years, I was extremely fortunate to graduate from the University of California at Berkeley with a Biology and Physical Education degree. While attending Cal, I taught in the classroom teaching Anatomy for the Berkeley Unified School District and Physical Education for the Oakland School District. Also, I volunteered as a medic at the Berkeley Free Clinic – growing “a community that is empowered to sustain its own health”.

After graduating from college, I led a paid and volunteer staff of 75 at the local YMCA with the commitment to caring for children, improving our community’s health, and giving back to our neighborhoods.

The knowledge and experience helping the people in Berkeley led me to pursue a Master of Public Health in Chicago. Even with the rigors of academics, it was important to be an advocate in the field by educating seniors and children about health in the Southside Chicago, serving as president of the American Public Health Association Student Caucus, and being Editorial Board member of the American Journal of Public Health.

After graduate school, California was not the same. I wanted to be in a place that had an educated populace, yet maintained a hometown feel, similar to how Sunnyvale was in the 1980’s. At that time, there was excitement about the growing tech hub community in Austin, Texas. So, I packed the car and headed south. Over the next decade, my cross-sectional knowledge of policy, data and technology was used to make conscientious improvements for the people in the State of Texas. The experience was life-changing. I was incredibly humbled when receiving the Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner’s Vision Award and selected for the DARS Leadership Institute.

While in Austin, I was lucky to have met my husband of over 15 years, Jon. It was the growth of his high-tech career that brought us to North Carolina. Our final decision to build a future in Wake County really came down to one visit. Once we found the Berkeley neighborhood, we knew we were home!

From Day One, I committed to serve my community and Wake County by:

  • dedicating my life to the Wake County Democratic Party by mobilizing volunteers and voters to elect representatives --- from all 12 municipalities to the White House --- that align with our values.

  • actively campaigning and endorsing bond funding for parks, open space and greenways.

  • publicly spoking to North Carolina Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) about the needs for Wake County Transit for all citizens, and organized several neighborhoods for much needed traffic improvements.

  • supporting and organizing forums for the building of affordable housing in Wake County.

  • building relationships between law enforcement and our community (especially those who are minorities and immigrants) to ensure that there is trust and commitment to all people’s safety.

  • fighting HB2 and putting everything on the line for LGBTQ rights, and advocated for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment with our governor’s staff, state senators and representatives, and ERA activists.

  • working with municipalities and organizations to make significant gains in terms of balanced growth, environment/sustainability, employment/income equity and other societal benefits to reach the high quality of life.

I commit to advocate and fight for these and any issues identified as the most important to you and Wake County.  

I ask for your vote on November 3, 2020. Your vote assures that Wake County is well represented by someone who has relevant experience and is committed to getting results for the goals we want to achieve.

Vote Maria Cervania for Wake County Commissioner - District 3.


Maria for Wake

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©2019 by Maria Cervania